The Alabama Crimson Tide was dealt a bevy of bad fortune this past Saturday night during their contest against the Ole Miss Rebels. First came the devastating defeat on their home turf in what was supposed to be a game of the ages and redemption for last year’s loss against the Rebels.
Making matters worse was the loss of No. 1 receiving option Robert Foster who is now out for the season with a reported torn rotator cuff. This now means someone else must step up in the place of Foster to be the team’s go-to receiver and big-play option.
While conventional wisdom would tell us graduate transfer Richard Mullaney would be the sure pick here or even sophomore ArDarius Stewart, one name that is sure to ring throughout the SEC for the remainder of the season is five-star true freshman Calvin Ridley.
Ridley, who hails from Pompano Beach, Florida is almost a clone of former Alabama All-American Amari Cooper in terms of skill and early impact. What we’ve seen so far from Ridley is a mere preview of what he’s capable of if given more opportunities.
Against the Rebels, Ridely caught six passes for 28 yards. On one of those receptions, we all saw what propelled him to national attention as a high school player where he turned a play into an exciting catch and run for 23 yards using exceptional footwork and quickness.
Like Cooper, the spotlight does not appear to affect Ridley and as the season plays out, Alabama fans will see this more and more. While Ridley should not be expected to fill the shoes of Cooper immediately (he has a long way to go to reach 124 receptions), expect Lane Kiffin to dial up similar plays for the talented freshman here on out.
There are many reasons for Alabama fans to feel uncertainty about, considering the state of the team at this juncture. However, a silver lining to all of this could be Ridley and an opportunity for a star to shine as he is intended to, and to do so sooner. The question for Ridley is not if he will be special — but when.