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Alabama’s Jahleel Billingsley is starting to emerge offensively at tight end

Jahleel Billingsley of Alabama scores a TD versus Auburn in Iron Bowl
Mandatory Credit: Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via USA TODAY Sports

Does Alabama finally have a tight end that resembles O.J. Howard or Irv Smith?

For an offense that wants to develop a threat at every position, fans of the Crimson Tide are starting to see Jahleel Billingsley become the next receiving option to emerge. A native of Chicago, Ill., he arrived at the University of Alabama in 2019 as a talented four-star prospect. With each tight end who enrolls at Alabama, Nick Saban’s message for it is to become to be a complete player.

Billingsley saw action in nine games last season, recording one catch versus Mississippi State for 19 yards.

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The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder has stood out in the last two matchups. After catching three passes for 78 yards versus Kentucky, Billingsley impacted the Iron Bowl with two receptions — including one for a touchdown. His 24-yard catch stretched Alabama’s lead to 21-3 going into halftime. In both games combined, he has five catches for 111 yards and one score.

Despite being smaller than Howard and Smith, Billingsley carries the tools of a wide receiver.

Steve Sarkisian, Alabama’s offensive coordinator, is a guru when it comes to creating favorable matchups on the field.

He was significant in the Tide’s 42-13 win over Auburn, but Coach Saban sees more from Billingsley moving forward.

“Jahleel is coming into his own as a tight end,” Saban said on Monday. “He a very good receiver. I think having some success in the last couple of games has helped his confidence. He is definitely somebody who we feel can make plays for us on offense, and we need to try to utilize him in every way we can.”

John Metchie, a sophomore at wide receiver, is one of Billingsley’s best friends on the team.

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Both came in the same freshmen class and per Metchie, he said Billingsley is ‘extremely skilled.’

“Especially with being so close to Jahleel, he is someone I am personally excited about,” Metchie said. “There is a lot more that he can do that has not been seen.”

As it tries to locate another vertical receiver, having Billingsley does provide a strong option in the red zone and on certain route concepts.

When it comes to the Southeastern Conference, it does carry a few really strong players at the tight end position. Billingsley is the next star on the rise, and he looks for more this week versus LSU.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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