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Alabama Crimson Tide
CFB

Which Crimson Tide Playmaker Is Going To Step Up?

  • Ryan Fowler
  • October 19, 2022
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For an offensive arsenal that looks depleted of its weaponry, unlike anything we’ve seen in recent memory, who will step up among the Alabama Crimson Tide’s wideouts and tight ends? While the Crimson Tide remain a top-10 ranked program, it’s been relatively ugly on the offensive side of the football outside of Bryce Young and running back, pass-catcher, and do-it-all transfer Jahmyr Gibbs

Louisville transfer Tyler Harrell hasn’t been available and Georgia transfer Jermaine Burton can’t separate. It’s been sophomore Ja’Corey Brooks and freshman Kobe Prentice leading the way through seven weeks. It hasn’t been pretty, and while recruiting stars and high school prestige isn’t lacking within the depth chart, this just isn’t the production we’re used to seeing from Nick Saban’s playmakers on the perimeter.

From Jerry Jeudy, Jaylen Waddle, Henry Ruggs III, and DeVonta Smith to most recently drafted talent in first-rounder Jameson Williams (an Ohio State transfer) and day-two Houston Texans selection John Metchie III, that’s an exhaustive list of flat-out DUDES on the outside. Production is expected when seasonal team goals center around a national championship, but the Crimson Tide just haven’t found their footing yet on the boundary. 

Burton, a highly sought-after talent out of Athens, has just six catches in the last three weeks combined. Not good enough. Junior Traeshon Holden has four catches in the same time frame. Again, not good enough. And while the losses of tight end Jahleel Billingsley (Texas) and five-star prep talent Agiye Hall (Texas) were initially looked upon as slaps on the wrist, the Crimson Tide are in desperate need of someone to step up if they ever look to not only reach the College Football Playoff, but the SEC Championship Game in 2022. 

Luckily, however, it’s been Gibbs and Young who have introduced a de facto two-man show to keep Alabama in games. For the Georgia Tech transfer in Gibbs, his 27 receptions lead the team through seven weeks. On the ground, he’s top 20 in the nation in total yards (635), and sixth in yards per carry (7.2) with five trips to paydirt. It’s been him or no one, and Young has had to battle injury as an effect of him constantly having to extend plays.

A look back through the first few weeks showcases a team that must improve drastically if they look to reach their lofty annual performance ceiling. A win over Texas in Week 2 looked bleak until Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers suffered an injury. A win at home over a struggling Texas A&M squad two weeks ago came down to the final play of the game—and need I say more about the loss to Tennessee (although defensive struggles were evident)? In a game in which Gibbs ran for three scores and Young tossed for more than 450 yards, no one outside of tight end Cameron Latu totaled more than 90 receiving yards. The leading wide receiver? None other than the true freshman in Prentice with nine catches. 

Young—the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner—has no issue spreading the rock around the yard, but for Alabama to be Alabama as we move down the line, the players within the Crimson Tide wide receiver room have to look in the mirror. The worst thing in the world is wasted talent, and there are too many athletes in Tuscaloosa to hang Young out to dry.

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Ryan Fowler