Alabama lands Calvin Ridley, Gehrig Dieter on Biletnikoff Award watch
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It will be an interesting season for Calvin Ridley and Gehrig Dieter. Both targets make Alabama one of few schools that return or have two 1,000-yard wide outs on their roster. While Lane Kiffin is licking his chops at all the talent, the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation announced the candidates for the 2016 preseason Fred Biletnikoff watch list on Wednesday.
Dieter and Ridley both were named to the list, as the pair finished at Nos. 33 and 36 respectively for receiving numbers in the nation last year. Ridley, a sophomore, set the Crimson Tide’s freshman record with 1,045 receiving yards on 89 catches. Five of his seven touchdowns came against quality defenses, including two against Michigan State (CFP semifinal) in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl.
Dieter, a graduate transfer (Bowling Green), was one of three receivers to record at least 90 catches, 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in a season. The South Bend, Indiana native was credited with 94 receptions for 1,033 yards and 10 touchdowns with the Falcons a year ago.
Alabama returns Robert Foster, ArDarius Stewart and Cameron Sims to its roster, but the combination of Dieter and Ridley spells doom for defensive backfields. Kiffin has produced two previous Biletnikoff winners—given to the nation’s top wide receiver and one of them was Amari Cooper in 2014. He accounted for 1,727 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns on 124 catches.
Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.