Alabama Football: Leary’s time to shine in the slot

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

With the recent news of Jojo Earle’s foot injury, Alabama football may be pretty thin in the slot.

It was widely assumed that the sophomore would be the starter in the position. Earle received significant playing time as a slot receiver and punt returner in his true freshman season before suffering an injury. He is now expected to miss 6-8 weeks, which should cause him to miss at least the first third of the season.

Alabama Football Wideout Shift

The news came just days after Coach Nick Saban shared that Louisville transfer Tyler Harrell had been “in and out” and “not 100%.” Harrell is another receiver that fans and media alike have high expectations for this season. Coach Saban’s comments made it apparent that it may take a little longer than anticipated to get Harrell fully acclimated to the offense. The silver lining is that it doesn’t currently appear that Harrell is set to miss any time during the season due to injury.

With Earle out of the lineup and Harrell not quite up to speed, sophomore Christian Leary may be the choice in the slot when Alabama football kicks off the season against Utah State on September 3rd.

Highly touted out of high school for his track speed, Leary received very little playing time at slot as a freshman in 2021. He did play special teams and received snaps as an emergency running back, catching a touchdown pass out of the backfield in the Tide’s win over Arkansas. This was his only notable contribution of the season.

Christian Leary was a standout in the 2022 spring game, finishing with five catches for 106 yards. This included a 52-yard touchdown strike from Jalen Milroe, one of the more explosive plays of the day for either team.

Perhaps this showing was an indication that Leary is ready to step up, at least until Earle can return and Harrell can get up to speed.

Behind Leary, Alabama football will probably need a true freshman to provide depth. With Aaron Anderson also out with a knee injury, the responsibility will fall to Shazz Preston, Isaiah Bond, Kendrick Law, or Kobe Prentice.

Next. Where the coaches poll missed the mark. dark

It should not take long for us to find out which of these four freshmen is most college ready.