In each of the last two seasons, wide receivers at the University of Alabama have discovered their roles early within the system.
DeVonta Smith found himself as the game-winning touchdown man in 2017, while Jaylen Waddle was the explosive target in the following year as a freshman. Nick Saban keeps a rotation of six to eight receivers for more reasons than just putting a strain on defensive coordinators and defensive backs. He also wants to see what each player brings to the table, in terms of a skill set.
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The duo of Waddle and Smith played well in Alabama’s first win over Missouri, but John Metchie created a couple of strong moments for himself too. A native of Brampton, Canada, the sophomore had a great fall camp — earning the third and final starting role at receiver.
Coach Saban spoke on his improvement as a route runner; however, Metchie has always had the capability of being an explosive playmaker.
Despite him carrying a similar body structure to Calvin Ridley, Metchie had some situations that reminded fans of Kevin Norwood. He and Mac Jones have a connection that started in the 2019 A-Day Game. On last week, he caught two passes from Jones for 42 yards. Both receptions resulted in first downs, including a 22-yard catch on third down in the first quarter.
His contributions led to touchdown runs from Najee Harris and paced the Tide to a 28-3 lead at halftime. Metchie averaged 21 yards per catch and both plays kept drives alive. With the success that Smith and Waddle have had at Alabama, the former four-star in the 2019 signing class will be able to quietly create an impact.
Metchie, like Norwood, has the ability to free himself from defenders at the right time.
According to Waddle, his teammate has some ‘sneaky speed’ in his game.
“If the defender does not latch on to him, he is getting out of there,” Waddle said of Metchie. “He creates a lot of space, especially coming out his routes. I think he is going to get a chance to showcase his speed in due time.”
The time for Metchie could come this week versus Texas A&M, as the Tide has its home opener at 2:30 p.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
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