Touchdown celebrations are a fabric of football culture.
At the University of Alabama, wide receivers under Nick Saban had different ways of enjoying big plays.
For three years, Amari Cooper took the humble approach. Upon reaching the end zone, he would drop to one knee, point one finger to the sky and have a moment to himself. During the 2015 College Football Playoff semifinal matchup (Goodyear Cotton Bowl) against Michigan State, Calvin Ridley hit the famous “Ran off on the Plug” dance — courtesy of Rapper Plies.
In honor of his fallen friend, Henry Ruggs III always held three fingers (3’s up) in the air for Rod Scott and Jerry Jeudy often performed “The Griddy Dance” at times last season when he scored. It was in a meeting with Ole Miss last season where two Crimson Tide wide outs put a new handshake together. DeVonta Smith had a career performance versus Mississippi in 2019, totaling 11 receptions for 274 yards with five touchdowns. He could not be stopped and after his first score, he and John Metchie (freshman then) broke out with a guitar dance.
Alabama won the game, 59-31, but an even better moment came this year.
Smith burned Ole Miss again and this time, he posted a new career-high for receptions (13) and tallied 164 yards receiving with two total scores (one rushing) in a 63-48 win for the Tide.
After the first touchdown, he and Metchie hit the guitar action again. When he spoke to local reporters on Tuesday, Smith told the story of how the celebration happened.
“Metchie just came up to me and said our handshake is going to be the guitar,” he said. “Ever since then, we went along with it. We just added a little more to it this year.”
A lot of concern was on the faces of Tide fans when Jeudy and Ruggs left for the National Football League.
Despite having Smith and Jaylen Waddle, the question was who would emerge as the third receiver?
Insert Metchie into the mix. A native of Brampton, Canada, Metchie has picked up where the others left off.
He worked tirelessly with Mac Jones over the summer and the sophomore has become another thorn in the side of opposing defensive coordinators. The 6-foot, 195-pounder earned the starting job as the “Z” receiver in fall camp and has been fantastic through three games.
He caught two passes in Alabama’s season opener against Missouri, but he introduced himself to the college football world as a threat in its home opener versus Texas A&M. The former four-star had a career day with 181 yards receiving on five catches — including two touchdowns.
He caught four passes last week for 75 yards and his teammates are happy about him.
Smith said it means a lot to him to see Metchie succeed.
“Just him putting in the work he’s put in since day one, he’s been working hard,” Smith said of Metchie. “He always knew that one day he was going to get a chance to compete for a starting role. The way that he has been working; it is all paying off for him. It means a lot to have that third guy out there to help the offense.”
After a having a small role last year, Metchie is showing he is ready for the big time.
He currently has 298 yards receiving with two scores on 11 catches. Metchie leads the receiver room in yards per catch (27.1) and averages 99.3 yards per game. At any given moment, Smith, Waddle or Metchie could explode for huge numbers.
All of them have had at least one marquee outing and the trio is having fun together.
Will Smith and Metchie have the guitar handshake for Georgia? It shall be prepared and we’ll see what happens.
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