He had the hardest learning curve of anyone else at the University of Alabama, especially coming from the northern border, but John Metchie III has impressed the football program and it fans with his skill set.
He grew up in Canada, played his high school ball in Maryland and after catching four passes as a true freshman, Metchie showed how impactful he can be last season. The 6-foot, 195-pounder finished second on the team for receptions (55), receiving yards (916) and touchdowns (six) — en route to helping the Crimson Tide capture a College Football Playoff National Championship.
Metchie, a former four-star in the 2019 signing class, finished in the top-20 nationally for receiving yards while ranking fourth in the Southeastern Conference. He displayed explosiveness in Alabama’s second game of the 2020 campaign, recording a career-high 181 yards receiving versus Texas A&M with two scores on five catches. When a right ankle injury sidelined Jaylen Waddle against Tennessee, Metchie responded with seven grabs for 151 yards. Along with posting two 100-yard performances, he had two matchups (TAMU, Auburn) where he accounted for at least two touchdown catches. Thirty-five of Metchie’s 55 receptions (63.6 percent) resulted in a first down or a touchdown for Alabama. With losing Waddle and DeVonta Smith to the upcoming NFL Draft, the rising junior will now get an opportunity to be the Tide’s No. 1 option at wide receiver.
He trained a lot with Mac Jones before the start of last season, and Metchie helped the native Floridian become a Heisman finalist and Consensus All-American.
The trio of Bryce Young, Paul Tyson and Jalen Milroe will battle for the starting job at quarterback this time.
Regardless of who wins, Metchie provides Alabama with someone who can stretch the field vertically.
Four of his six scores came on plays of 20 yards or more. Despite having some dropped passes, expect for Metchie to improve with him taking on a leadership role. Aside from Tua Tagovailoa in 2018, each starting quarterback for the Tide under Nick Saban had one receiving option that became its go-to target.
Favorite targets of Alabama first-year starting QB’s
2009: Greg McElroy and Julio Jones
2011: AJ McCarron and Marquis Maze
2014: Blake Sims and Amari Cooper
2015: Jacob Coker and Calvin Ridley
2016: Jalen Hurts and Calvin Ridley (72 catches, team-high)
2020: Mac Jones and Devonta Smith
*Tua Tagovailoa shared the wealth in 2018
Even with the Tide returning Xavier Williams, Slade Bolden, Javon Baker, Traeshon Holden, Thaiu Jones-Bell and signing four more freshmen in this year’s class, Metchie has the tools to lead the room. Bolden may end up starting in the slot and Williams has the make-up to be a starter at the “Z” or flanker position. It will be intriguing to see how everyone else falls within the roster, but now it is time to see Metchie take the next step.
Under the leadership of Holman Wiggins, he is ready to be the leading man.
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