Alabama Football: Sleepers in the receiver room

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football should not lack quality depth in its 2023 receiver room. In fact, the bigger question is whether or not the Crimson Tide will feature any standouts at the receiver position.

Even with no absence of outgoing receiver transfers (five in total), there is still something of a logjam at the position for Alabama. The consensus appears to be that the two-deep will consist of some combination of leading returning receivers Jermaine Burton and Ja’Corey Brooks, JUCO addition Malik Benson, and rising sophomores Kobe Prentice, Isaiah Bond, and Kendrick Law.

Who among this group will separate themselves from the pack? The answer to that question will remain a mystery until fall camp, and perhaps into the 2023 season.

Alabama Football: What pass catchers are behind the top six?

Behind the presumed two-deep, Alabama has some dark horse talent at the receiver position.

For the sake of this conversation, I considered only returning players. The Crimson Tide welcomed in three freshman wide receivers in Jalen Hale, Jaren Hamilton, and Cole Adams. This trio will likely need a year to learn and develop, but it is always possible that one of these true freshmen insert themselves into the lineup as the season progresses.

As far as returnees, Bama has some talented pass-catchers on its depth chart that have been largely overlooked. Redshirt freshman Shazz Preston is a physical specimen who was highly recruited out of Louisiana two cycles ago.

Sophomore Emmanuel Henderson Jr., who was also a member of the class of 2022, came to Tuscaloosa as a highly-touted running back before making the permanent transition to wideout.

Both Preston and Henderson Jr. were 4-star recruits and top-100 players in that recruiting cycle before seeing limited snaps in year one on campus. Henderson Jr. in particular has developed quickly in his new position, and was impressive throughout the spring.

While it will be difficult for Preston and Henderson Jr. to crack a two-deep that collectively got a lot of experience last season, it is possible that one or both of these players could assume key roles.

One more pass-catcher to watch within the Bama offense is sophomore Amari Niblack, a versatile tight end that also enters his second year on campus. Niblack is arguably the most fluid athlete in a fairly well-rounded tight end room, and perhaps the most adept at splitting out wide.

He appeared in 10 games as a true freshman, gaining valuable experience on offense and special teams. Niblack made just one catch, but it went for a 15-yard touchdown against ULM. Can he parlay that brief moment of success into something more sustainable?

Next. Pressure's on for Bama defense. dark

Alabama Football still has plenty of questions that need to be answered in fall camp. First and foremost, the Crimson Tide does not appear to be remotely close to naming a starting quarterback. Whoever wins that job, however, will not go without capable targets at receiver.