Alabama Football: Waiting on Ja’Corey Brooks
No one else has been a consistent contributor, but Alabama Football has plenty of potential playmakers waiting to break out in the wide receiver room. Junior Ja’Corey Brooks was expected to explode in his first draft-eligible season, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Brooks entered 2023 as one of the more established members of the room with 54 career catches for 866 yards and 10 touchdowns, but just made his first grab of the year against Ole Miss.
A big part of Ja’Corey Brooks’ lack of production has been bad luck. He was suspended for the first half against Middle Tennessee State, and Alabama had such a significant lead by the time he entered the lineup that it wasn’t throwing the ball much. After failing to make a catch against Texas, Brooks was the victim of the quarterback nightmare that was the USF game.
He hasn’t appeared to let this slow start discourage him. Brooks has continued to play hard, and got his name called for the first time this season with a blocked punt against Ole Miss. It was the second career blocked punt for the starting wide receiver and special teams standout.
It also seems as though Bama is actively trying to get him the ball, which is a promising sign.
Jalen Milroe’s interception in the end zone against Ole Miss was the product of him trying to force the ball to Ja’Corey Brooks, despite having receivers open elsewhere. When Brooks finally did make a catch, it was on a quick screen to the flat. It only went for two yards, but it was the kind of play specifically designed to get Brooks a guaranteed touch to try and get him going. Perhaps it was also a reward for his special teams hustle.
I don’t think fans should panic about Brooks’ lack of involvement in the offense to this point. He is a proven commodity at receiver, and the Alabama offense will be that much better when he finds a rhythm.
Brooks is unique amongst this receiving corps given that he has by far the widest catch radius, and his range makes him a jump-ball target in the red zone. Due to him virtually missing four games worth of production, he may not match his statistical output from 2022, but he can be counted on to make some big grabs in critical games for the Tide.