It’s been a long journey to the NFL Scouting Combine for Alabama wide receiver John Metchie III, but all it’s taken to get here has made his latest obstacle—an ACL tear—just another bump in the road. Metchie entered the SEC Championship Game against Georgia with 1,045 yards and seven touchdowns on 90 catches—all stats already career highs. He kept pushing those numbers in the early parts of the matchup, adding on an extra 97 yards and another touchdown on six more catches. Then, as he came out of his break on a route in the final minute of the first half, he pulled up lame and went down. An ACL tear is devastating news for any athlete. It ends one’s ability to compete until they’ve recovered from surgery to repair the ligament. For Metchie, the timing could not have been worse. Tearing his ACL in the SEC Championship Game meant he wouldn’t be able to participate in Alabama’s playoff run. It would also hinder his ability to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine. If Metchie is frustrated or upset about being unable to show off his skills to scouts at the Combine, he hasn’t been showing it. His attitude during his media availability on Wednesday in Indianapolis was overwhelmingly positive, and he seemed genuinely excited just to be here. “As a kid, you always dream of going to the combine and performing and running and running routes and stuff, so that’s tough, but at the end of the day, it’s in God’s hands for me,” Metchie said. He hasn’t been concerned about whether his injury will lower his draft stock, either. He expected to run the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, and since his recovery has gone well, he hasn’t felt concern from teams about the injury. Considering all it took for Metchie to get this far, seeing him so positive actually isn’t a huge surprise. For one thing, he’s dealt with adversity from injuries before. When he was a freshman in high school, a hard hit to his chest led to a realization that he had an enlarged heart, and his recovery from that kept him on the bench the rest of that year. Earlier in his career at Alabama, Metchie played through a couple of painful injuries, and he said that experience has helped him deal with his current situation. “I played through injury my sophomore year on my shin and stuff like that, so it’s definitely not affecting me mentally or psychologically,” he said. “This is not much compared to what I’ve done.” For another thing, the journey for Metchie just to get to where he is today was full of twists and turns. The Alabama star was born in Taiwan, lived in Ghana for a few years, then moved to Canada when he was six years old. When Metchie realized that his dream was to play football, he decided that moving to the United States for high school was the best way to advance his career. So when he was 14, he enrolled in a Maryland boarding school and moved away from his family to begin high school. Clearly, Metchie’s plan worked. He got noticed in high school and ended up committing to Alabama in 2018. “I think all the places I’ve lived, all the people I’ve been around are one of the biggest keys to who I am today,” Metchie said. Flash forward a few years though, and life threw him another curveball when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Metchie was stuck in the U.S., unable to go back to Canada to see his family. “I’m glad my family was staying safe and all, but I wasn’t able to see them or go back home for about two years, couldn’t see my mom for about two years,” he said. “It was tough, but I was just staying focused, and I knew eventually the day would come where I’d see her again.” Having dealt with so much adversity in his career both on and off the field, Metchie is well-equipped to handle the challenge of preparing for the draft while injured. In the grand scheme of things, an NFL team will draft him come April, and his ACL injury was just another challenge he had to overcome to achieve his dream.
- Aug 11, 2022
- Aug 11, 2022