Alabama Football: Will receivers have a sophomore surge?

Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama football needs more from these three players

Over the years, Alabama football has been known as WRU. It started with Julio Jones, but players like Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley carried the torch. The 2017 class brought in three of the best receivers in the history of college football, including a Heisman winner and two Biletnikoff winners. Ruggs, Jeudy and Smith were all drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft, and Jaylen Waddle followed suit in the 2018 recruiting class.

This year, the Tide will be led by John Metchie, the only WR recruit from Alabama football’s 2019 class. He’ll need the supporting cast to step up, which is where the 2020 class comes into play.

Alabama signed three high school receivers in the 2020 class, but none of them were in the top 20 of 247’s receiver rankings for their class. In their freshman season, they combined for three catches and 13 yards. Can Javon Baker, Traeshon Holden and Thaiu Jones-Bell have a sophomore surge?

First and foremost, throw the recruiting rankings out the window. Alabama recruits receivers better than any school, and Metchie himself was the 40th-best receiver in his class. Slade Bolden was recruited as a running back, so Alabama knows a thing or two of finding diamonds in the rough at the position.

All three receivers have shown flashes in either camp or the A-Day Game. They have the talent, and they will have the opportunity to shine this year.

The one red flag is that the freshman class has a ton of receiver talent. For these three players, it’s essentially now or never. Agiye Hall, JoJo Earle, Jacorey Brooks and Christian Leary will be fighting for targets. There are plenty of mouths to feed, and it will be hard for any single player to shine above the rest.

My prediction is that at least two sophomores will be significant contributors in the passing game. Javon Baker has shown potential, and Traeshon Holden had an amazing A-Day Game. They will mostly be rotational players, but all receivers have the talent to make the most of their opportunities.

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Alabama has managed a stacked receiver room before, and they’ll have to do the same this year.