Spring football returned to the University of Alabama on Friday, March 19.
Fans of the Crimson Tide are excited for this edition of athletes taking the field, as Nick Saban and the program look to repeat as national champions. With 15 practice sessions – including the A-Day Game – the staff writers for Touchdown Alabama Magazine will provide in-depth previews on marquee players.
We have now reached our first veteran wide receiver, and it is John Metchie.
John Metchie III
–Position: Wide Receiver
-Hometown: Brampton, Canada
-Weight: 195 pounds
-Strengths: Size, speed, athleticism, blocking, routes, competitor
-Weaknesses: Hands (must get more consistent)
–Summary: John Metchie won one of three starting positions at wide receiver last season.
He had the hardest learning curve in coming from Canada, but he was a complementary piece to DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle as Alabama’s third option. Metchie exploded in the Crimson Tide’s second game of the 2020 campaign. He totaled a career-high 181 yards receiving with two touchdowns on five catches versus Texas A&M. The matchup put him on the national radar; however, he had a much bigger moment three weeks later. Waddle suffered a right ankle injury against Tennessee at Neyland Stadium (Knoxville, Tenn.), and the Tide called on Metchie to step up. After being one of the Offensive Players of the Week versus the Aggies, the former four-star recorded 151 yards receiving on seven receptions in a 48-17 victory for Alabama.
It was the second time during the year where Metchie led the Tide in receiving. The 6-foot, 195-pounder finished fourth in the Southeastern Conference for yards (916) with six scores on 55 catches. Metchie averaged 16.7 yards per catch and battled through an injury in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. He brought in eight passes for 81 yards against Ohio State, helping the Tide to a 52-24 victory. At the start of spring practice, Coach Nick Saban informed reporters on Metchie being limited for the semester. The junior is recovering from an ankle/hip issue he suffered in the 2020 season, but he will be ready to work in the fall. According to an article from Pro Football Focus, Metchie was not listed as one of the top 10 receivers returning to college football. He took this personally on Twitter and is looking forward to silencing his critics as Alabama’s primary receiver.
He has the size, speed, athleticism, blocking, and routes to be the No. 1 option; however, is Metchie ready to take the mantle?
Names such as Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy, and DeVonta Smith have owned the role. Metchie has to build confidence with the Tide’s starting quarterback and have everyone else in the receiver room follow his lead. Despite his talents, he did suffer some dropped passes last season. He has to become more consistent with his hands to be a premier guy.
Some expect the Tide’s receiver room to take a step back with Smith and Waddle gone.
Players such as Slade Bolden, Xavier Williams, Javon Baker, Traeshon Holden, Thaiu Jones-Bell, Christian Leary, Agiye Hall, Ja’Corey Brooks, and JoJo Earle (coming in the summer) are talented, but they may be a year away from being game-changers.
Can Metchie have this unit perform above expectations? He will have to chance to answer this question in the fall.
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