John Metchie smiled about two things in Alabama’s Cotton Bowl victory over Cincinnati.
He is not participating in the College Football Playoff because of an injury, but watching his teammates honor him with the “Crane Kick” celebration and Ja’Corey Brooks emerging in his absence means everything to Metchie.
Since the matchup against Auburn, Brooks is becoming another primary target at wide receiver for Bryce Young. As a freshman from Miami, Fla., Brooks recorded a 28-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter of the Iron Bowl.
He tied the game at 10, and Alabama would earn a 24-22 victory at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Crimson Tide did not need to be explosive against the Bearcats, but Brooks had four receptions for 66 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
His hands, routes, speed, work ethic, and playmaking abilities have impressed teammates and coaches for the Tide.
Bill O’Brien, Alabama’s offensive coordinator, is thankful to Nick Saban for an opportunity to have success in the program.
He knows the ‘generational’ defense he will face in Georgia next week for the CFP National Championship Game. O’Brien had a lot of good things to say about Jameson Williams, but the 52-year-old has been highly impressed with Brooks’ production.
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“Ja’Corey is an impressive young player,” O’Brien said Wednesday.
“He’s got good size. He’s got a good work ethic. He is a serious guy. Brooks takes his game seriously, and he tries to work every day to get better. It’s hard to play wide receiver at a young age at this level and the next level, but he’s doing well at this level. He is getting better because of his work ethic. Ja’Corey has been big for us. He’s come up big for us with some big catches over the last few games, and that has been important for our team.”
Brooks has nine catches for 145 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
He is second to Jameson Williams (20.1) for yards per catch at 16.1. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder anticipates being the second Crimson Tide receiver to burn Georgia in a national championship setting.
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