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A look at Alabama's receiving options outside of Smith and Waddle

Alabama Crimson Tide receiver John Metchie III. Photo | Alabama Athletics
Alabama Crimson Tide receiver John Metchie III. Photo | Alabama Athletics

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At first glance, the third receiver position appears to be one of the few chinks in the armor to an otherwise infallible Alabama attack. Sure, the Crimson Tide is set to replace two departing first-rounders — Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy — with two likely Day-1 draft picks in DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. But what about that third starting spot?

Smith and Waddle combined for 101 receptions for 1,816 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. The rest of the Tide’s returning wide receiving options have totaled just six catches for 57 yards in their combined college careers. That’s quite the drop off for an offense that has prided itself in its ability to spread the ball around in recent years.

Still, no one in Tuscaloosa seems to be too worried — and for good reason.

“I think we have several receivers that are doing a nice job,” Nick Saban said earlier this week. “Obviously we lost two great players and we have two great players coming back, and those two guys are both playing like great players.

“(John) Metchie has done a really, really good job, so we have a lot of confidence in him. Slade Bolden has done a good job. We have confidence in him. Those are the experienced guys. And then these freshmen — Javon Baker has shown promise. I think they all have; I just think they need to develop consistency in A) knowing what to do, and B) going out there and playing with confidence… Xavier Williams has shown improvement. The whole group, I think, is showing some marked improvement from last year, and they all need to continue to grow and develop, but I'm pleased with the group.”

Wrapping up the third week of fall camp, the four names Saban mentioned are the leading candidates for Alabama’s final starting spot at receiver. Metchie, Alabama’s most recent A-Day MVP, is thought to be the favorite heading into his sophomore season. Bolden, a redshirt sophomore, has the most on-field experience, serving in multiple roles last season, most notably as the Wildcat quarterback. Baker, a four-star freshman, is the shiny new attraction, while Williams, a redshirt sophomore, is somewhat of a dark horse after being overshadowed earlier in his career.

Here’s a look at all four options and what they have to offer this fall.

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