Alabama Football: Two sleepers on 2023 Crimson Tide offense

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

Alabama football is set to return several marquee contributors from its 2022 offense. Running back Jase McClellan and receivers Ja’Corey Brooks and Jermaine Burton each had over 600 yards from scrimmage, and could be breakout candidates in 2023.

If these veterans don’t produce quickly, however, they could be supplanted by a pair of extremely talented true sophomores. Both of these players saw limited snaps in 2022, but showed flashes of star potential in those opportunities. The coming season could be a big year for two members of Alabama’s 2022 recruiting class.

Alabama Football: Jamarion Miller

Sophomore running back Jamarion Miller could play a bigger role in 2023. Miller was a 4-star recruit and the 6th-ranked running back in the class of 2022. As a true freshman, he logged 33 carries for 223 yards and two touchdowns, leading all Bama running backs with a 6.8 yards per carry average.

Granted, most of that production came against inferior competition, but Miller really looks the part. He ran with more violence and physicality than any of the other backs, and also displayed solid vision and surprising open-field speed.

Miller broke off long runs against UL-Monroe and against Kansas State in Alabama’s Sugar Bowl win. He had his best game of the season in SEC competition against Vanderbilt, racking up 63 yards and two touchdowns on the Commodores.

Jamarion Miller still figures to open the season behind seniors Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams in the rotation, but he is certainly talented enough to carve out a role for himself.

Alabama Football: Isaiah Bond

Sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Bond was arguably the most electric receiver on the team as a true freshman in 2022. Bond was also a 4-star in the class of 2022, and was considered the no. 2 athlete in the cycle. His final statistics from his first year in Tuscaloosa were deceivingly mundane; 17 receptions for 220 yards (12.9 yards per catch) with one touchdown.

Isaiah Bond was able to stretch the field and generate big plays, which was a weakness in Alabama’s passing game at times. On several occasions, Bond just missed making an explosive play. Some of his opportunities were botched by penalties or missed throws, but his speed and ability to create separation were obvious.

Bond made a 53-yard catch against Arkansas to loosen up the Razorback defense. He got behind the secondary and should’ve waltzed into the end zone, but lost his balance in his effort to make the grab. Bond got loose for a 23-yard catch-and-run later in that same game, and had a 33-yard catch against Tennessee. He finally scored his first career touchdown on a six-yard catch in the Sugar Bowl against Kansas State.

Isaiah Bond has to figure out how to make plays like these on a consistent basis, but he may have the highest upside in the Alabama football wide receiver room.

In recent years, several Alabama receivers have been compared to Jaylen Waddle, including Kobe Prentice and former Bama receivers Jojo Earle and Christian Leary. While it is still too early to make a Waddle comparison for Bond, he is the only one of this group that has actually shown similar abilities on the field.

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Should Isaiah Bond and classmate Jamarion Miller make big jumps in their sophomore seasons, they could be huge playmakers in the 2023 offense for Alabama football.