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Why Jalen Milroe would benefit from a reliable go to wide receiver?

Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe rolls out to pass at practice
Photo courtesy of Alabama Athletics

The best friend of any quarterback in football is a reliable go-to wide receiver.

Alabama fans saw the marriage of quarterback and receiver work perfectly in the Nick Saban era. Greg McElroy had Julio Jones in 2009 and it produced a BCS National Championship.

AJ McCarron had Amari Cooper as freshman in 2012 and it propelled the Crimson Tide to the second of back-to-back national titles. Jacob Coker had Calvin Ridley in 2015 and the Tide won a national championship. The duo of Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa had Calvin Ridley and other playmakers in 2017 to win a national title.

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Mac Jones’ partner was DeVonta Smith in 2020 and it gained Alabama a national championship.

Jalen Milroe needs a go to weapon he can trust under Kalen DeBoer. Jermaine Burton was good in 2023 for Milroe; however, the program has Kobe Prentice, Germie Bernard, Kendrick Law, Emmanuel Henderson Jr., Ryan Williams, Caleb Odom, and others that are prepared to be dominant playmakers. Milroe would benefit from a dependable target because he would who to get the ball to when Alabama needs a marquee play.

McElroy trusted Julio Jones with every marquee play, McCarron believed Cooper would make every play, Coker made sure in critical moments Ridley got the ball, and Jones wanted no one but Smith making receptions in crucial situations. Every receiver on this year’s roster wants to have success, but Milroe needs at least one guy to consistently count on no matter the down and distance. In the 2021 season, Bryce Young had the most explosive go to receiver in Jameson Williams.

Williams could take a short to intermediate play and break it for a long touchdown. He was instant offense for Alabama football, making touchdowns exciting for fans. This is the type of playmaker Milroe can surely use at his disposal. 

It will be intriguing to see which player emerges as Milroe’s primary target this season.

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

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 15 years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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