Alabama’s wide receiver suffered criticism from fans last year, but the group has stepped up.
Jermaine Burton has become a leader, Isaiah Bond is making plays, and a second-year receiver is showing he’s a force to recognize as a fierce competitor. Kobe Prentice, a native of Calera, Ala., arrived at the University of Alabama as a four-star in the Crimson Tide’s 2022 signing class. He brings impressive speed, but he’s also added healthy weight and improved his routes.
Prentice had a successful freshman campaign with 31 catches (fourth on the team) for 331 yards and two touchdown receptions through 13 games in 2022. He made several plays, including a 47-yard touchdown against Kansas State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La. Prentice wore No. 80 in 2022, a number worn by former Alabama standout Mike McCoy, but he represented well. Now, he’s chosen to pattern himself after a different legend. Prentice changed to No. 6 in the summer, donning the jersey of the first Heisman Trophy-winning receiver for the Crimson Tide. He explained Tuesday his inspiration for the number change.
“I grew up an Alabama fan,” Prentice said to reporters. “I watched DeVonta Smith play receiver here. I kind of always aspired to walk in his footsteps.”
DeVonta Smith, like Prentice, came to Alabama as a four-star recruit.
He arrived in 2017 from Louisiana and competed for an opportunity to make an impact. Smith had a game-winning touchdown catch versus Mississippi State, but the iconic moment to launch his career came in the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Game against Georgia. He caught the 41-yard, game-winning touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa in overtime.
Smith would grow to become one of the most electric receivers in college football.
His hands and routes were impressive as he found ways to offset defensive backs and frustrate defensive coordinators. Smith tallied 117 catches for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2020, capturing the Heisman Trophy and a CFP National Championship.
He is now in his third NFL season with the Philadelphia Eagles. Prentice aspires to be Smith, and he’s off to a good start. He was Alabama’s leading receiver against Texas with five catches for 68 yards. Prentice played well, but he is hungry for more.
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