Alabama Football: Impact of Jermaine Burton injury

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

Senior wide receiver Jermaine Burton has been the most reliable deep threat for Alabama Football so far in the 2023 season.

Through four games, Burton recorded eight catches for a team-high 189 yards and two touchdowns prior to sitting out most of the Mississippi State game with an undisclosed injury. He notably had two other long touchdowns against Texas that were called back due to penalties. Burton’s 23.6 yards per catch is good for second in the conference, highlighted by his three receptions of 48 yards or more.

Burton is expected to play against Texas A&M, but if he is limited, Alabama Football will need some of its other receivers to step up. Sophomore Isaiah Bond has been a reliable weapon for the Crimson Tide offense, with a team-high 12 receptions for 179 yards and a touchdown. He got vertical for a 47-yard touchdown against MTSU, and also caught a 34-yard pass against Texas.

Bama needs Bond to perform at a more consistent level going forward; he has just two catches for 27 yards in two games against SEC competition, and has not made a reception of more than 17 yards since that week two matchup against Texas.

Two more potential deep threats have started to emerge in recent weeks. JUCO transfer Malik Benson entered the season with a lot of buzz as a potential playmaker. He has generated just five catches for 65 yards so far this season, but his snaps are increasing and so is his apparent level of comfortability in the Alabama offense. His 27-yard catch against Mississippi State last week tied his season long. Benson is past due for a breakout game, and Bama fans would love to see him announce himself to the world in College Station.

True freshman Jalen Hale burst onto the scene with a long touchdown catch in Alabama’s win over Ole Miss. However, Hale did not make a reception last week against Mississippi State and has just three catches for 68 yards this season. Although it’s a small sample size, his 22.7 yards per catch ranks second on the team only to Burton.

Sophomores Kobe Prentice and Kendrick Law are also firmly established in the wide receiver rotation, but have largely been possession guys during their time in Tuscaloosa.

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Ideally, Jermaine Burton will be at full-speed for this road tilt that could ultimately decide the SEC West. However, if he is hampered, Alabama Football has some dynamic options in its wide receiver room that could fill the void.