Alabama Football: 2022 Crimson Tide Wide Receiver Room

[Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]Alabama Vs Mercer
[Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]Alabama Vs Mercer /

The Alabama football wide receiver room is losing all three starters to the NFL Draft in juniors John Metchie, Jameson Williams, and Slade Bolden. With a talented group of reserves returning, an explosive quintet of incoming freshmen, and a speedy transfer that has been underutilized throughout his career thus far, the Tide will have plenty of options in trying to replace their receiving production from 2021. It remains to be seen, however, who will actually lay claim to the starting spots.

Alabama Football: Six Returnees and an Incoming Transfer

On the outside, rising junior Traeshon Holden and rising sophomore Ja’Corey Brooks seem to have a leg up on the competition. Holden and Brooks received the most playing time in 2021 of all the returning receivers. Holden recorded 21 grabs for 239 yards and a touchdown in his sophomore campaign. Brooks came on late, finishing the season with 15 catches for 192 yards and two scores. Nearly all of this production came in the last four games of the year, during which Brooks was very impressive.

Jermaine Burton transfers in from Georgia and will be a junior in the 2022 season. Burton will most likely start, but it may take some time to determine exactly where. He has elite top-end speed and has shown the ability to consistently get behind defenses on vertical routes. In his two years in Athens, he recorded 53 catches for 901 yards and eight touchdowns.

Burton has the versatility to play outside or in the slot, and he should help this group out immensely. He will come into Tuscaloosa and instantly be the most experienced receiver on the roster, so hopefully he will be able to display some leadership qualities as well.

Sophomore Agiye Hall has a high ceiling, and was forced into the rotation in the national championship game due to numerous injuries at the position. He failed to make some difficult catches that the Alabama offense really needed, but he also showed his potential in making a pair of 26-yard grabs.

Thaiu Jones-Bell enters his third season in the program, as he came aboard in the class of 2020 along with Holden. Jones-Bell has not received much playing time, recording three catches for 14 yards over his first two seasons.

Diminutive sophomores Jojo Earle and Christian Leary will compete for time in the slot. Earle had an injury-riddled true freshman season, but was regularly utilized when he was on the field. He made 12 catches for 148 yards and returned 16 punts for 88 yards. While he was never able to show his big play ability, it was clear that Saban had a lot of trust in Earle from the start, more so than any of the other freshman receivers.

Christian Leary only recorded 28 all-purpose yards on six touches, but he showed flashes of his versatility and speed. Recruited as a slot receiver, Leary was forced to contribute as an emergency running back after the Alabama football backfield was depleted by injuries. He scored his first career touchdown from the position on an 11-yard catch in the win over Arkansas.

Alabama Football: The Freshmen

Alabama football brings in a loaded recruiting class once again, and its incoming receiver haul is particularly impressive. Aaron Anderson, Kobe Prentice, Shazz Preston, Kendrick Law, and Isaiah Bond are all 4-star recruits with track speed. Louisiana products Anderson and Law are both early enrollees that will participate in spring practice. Coach Nick Saban made it a point to add speed to the receiver unit, and he went above and beyond with this class (in addition to Burton).

With all three starting receiver slots presumably wide open, the freshmen will have every opportunity to compete for and earn playing time.

Next. Tide targeting veteran SEC offensive lineman. dark

This room as a whole has an incredible amount of talent, and, ideally, these guys will make each other better throughout the offseason. When the cream rises to the top, Alabama football should be able to field a lethal group of wide receivers in the fall.