football Edit

Alabama receiver JoJo Earle suffers fractured foot

Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver JoJo Earle (10) pushes away Southern Miss Golden Eagles punter Mason Hunt (16) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Photo |  Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver JoJo Earle (10) pushes away Southern Miss Golden Eagles punter Mason Hunt (16) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Photo | Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The injury bug continues to bite Alabama’s offense early during preseason camp. Following Alabama’s practice Thursday, Nick Saban revealed that sophomore receiver JoJo Earle suffered a Jones fracture in his foot earlier this week and will be out six to eight weeks.

"We'll just have to see how it goes," Saban said. "But hopefully by Oct. 1 or something like that, he'll be close to being ready to come back. But he was doing a really, really good job, having a really good camp. Probably the best he's been on a consistent basis; you just saw a guy that grew up and was playing with a lot of confidence. We'll miss him for a while, but we want him to get well, and I'm sure he'll contribute to the team at some point and time this year."

Earle was viewed as a candidate to earn one of Alabama’s three starting openings at receiver this fall following the departures of Jameson Williams, John Metchie III and Slade Bolden. During the A-Day game this spring, he led the first-team offense with four receptions for 51 yards.

Earle earned Freshman All-SEC honors as a return specialist last year, averaging 5.5 yards on 16 attempts while having multiple lengthy returns called back due to penalties. The former Rivals100 receiver also recorded 12 receptions for 148 yards, including a seven-catch game against Mercer where he led the team with 85 yards through the air.

Earle missed three games last season after suffering a leg injury against New Mexico State. He was able to return in time for the College Football Playoff but did not record any stats during the games against Cincinnati or Georgia.

Alabama lost three starting receivers from last year in Williams John Metchie III and Slade Bolden — a trio that combined for 3,122 yards and 26 touchdowns on 217 receptions.

This offseason, the Crimson Tide reloaded the unit, bringing in two college transfers in Jermaine Burton (Georgia) and Tyler Harrell (Louisville) as well as a five-man receiver class consisting of five-star talent Aaron Anderson as well as fellow speedsters Isaiah Bond, Kendrick Law, Kobe Prentice and Shazz Preston.

Earle was one of several talented returners in the unit along with Ja’Corey Brooks, Traeshon Holden, Christian Leary and Thaiu Jones-Bell.

Along with Earle, Saban signaled out Brooks as someone who was "doing very well" during camp while stating that the rest of Alabama's returners have been "making progress."

"They're getting better," Saban said. "I think they're doing a pretty good job. But I think there's a lot of competition at that position between the new guys, transfer guys, freshmen, old guys coming in, so it will be interesting to see how they do when we scrimmage on Saturday."

Along with losing Earle as a receiver, Alabama will also have to replace him on special teams. Saban listed Burton and sophomore cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry as two players who will fill in at punt return duties in Earle's absence.

Sunday, Saban provided an injury update, revealing redshirt senior tight end Cameron Latu will be out “a couple weeks” with a “minor knee injury.” The head coach also listed Anderson (knee) as well as freshman cornerback Earl Little Jr. (shoulder) freshman offensive tackle Elijah Pritchett (pectoral) and freshman Isaiah Hastings (undisclosed) as players who have been dealing with injuries so far during camp.

Alabama will resume practice on Thursday and Friday before holding its first preseason practice Saturday inside of Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Crimson Tide will open its season at home against Utah State on Sept. 3.