After a rough ending to the 2021 college season, the Alabama Crimson Tide knew one of their top priorities was developing a reliable and deep receiving corp. The Tide acquired some talented pass-catchers through the 2022 recruiting class and the NCAA Transfer Portal. The biggest goal this off-season was to get the passing game to a high level of standard, especially with Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young. The season did not start off great for Alabama and the offense with the lack of a definitive wide receiver failed to make a big difference in the 20-19 win over Texas. The best receiver in the game was Traeshon Holden, who caught four receptions for 39 yards.
Over the past two weeks, the Tide have tried to develop the receivers and move them around to get more impact out of them. Since the close game against Texas, the Tide has seen some improvement with the wide receivers. In week five, Alabama faces the #20 Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks have the 126th-ranked pass defense in the nation (302.5 passing yards per game). Alabama will also play Tennessee, ranked 128th in pass defense (309.3 passing yards per game) later in the season. The Tide are coming off a 400-yard passing performance in the 55-3 win over Vanderbilt in week four. Alabama will look to some key receivers as the SEC schedule gets more difficult, starting with Arkansas in week five. Here are some wide receivers set to step up through the rest of the 2022 season.
Wide Receivers looking to step up for the Alabama Crimson Tide
Ja’Corey Brooks – Sophomore
Brooks was a receiver that found himself buried in the depth chart last season. He was among some of the young players who found themselves getting big reps as a freshman due to the injuries of key players. It took some time, but Brooks had his breakout performance for Alabama in week four against Vanderbilt. Brooks caught six receptions for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Brooks has shown can run versatile routes and is dangerous with the ball after making the catch. He can line up on the outside and run mid-range passes on curl or post routes for potential big plays. He will look to be a reliable receiver for Young after his biggest game yet at the collegiate level.
Traeshon Holden – Junior
Holden is another young receiver who was given a much bigger role in the Tide’s offense during the championship game against Georgia. Like Brooks, Holden was not ready to take the bulk of the responsibilities of the passing game. This season, Holden has one of the key receivers for the Tide as one of the most experienced players in the receiver corps. He has had a good, but not great performance as one of the top pass-catchers. Holden has caught 15 receptions for 214 yards and four touchdowns in four games this season. Holden played primarily outside receiver who has been focused on by opposing defenses through the early portion of the 2022 season. He possesses the ability to run great deep routes and cut back inside to create separation from the defensive back. Holden can also run solid inside routes, which makes him a better inside receiver moving forward.
Jermaine Burton – Junior
Among the receivers for Alabama that hadn’t accounted for a big breakout game was the former Georgia Bulldog Jermaine Burton. He caught five receptions for 35 yards and two touchdowns in game one against Utah State, but his longest reception was 12 yards. Burton accumulated three receptions for 26 yards in games against Texas and ULM. In week four, Burton had his best and most comfortable down when he was moved from slot to natural outside receiver spot. Burton caught four receptions for 94 yards in the win over Vanderbilt. Burton has the breakout speed and the ability to separate himself from the opposing defensive back. Look for Burton to be more impactful with him as an outside receiver for Alabama than the past couple of games at the slot.
Other wide receivers for Alabama that could step
The three receivers are already some of the impactful deep pass-catchers this season; they are not the only ones being asked to make an impact for Alabama. There will be other receivers that will be asked to step up and contribute in case of injury, as was the case last season. Sophomore JoJo Earle has yet to make his first appearance in the 2022 season. Earle has been recovering from a fractured foot he suffered in practice on August 9th. Last season, he caught 12 receptions for 148 yards. He has the potential to line up all over the field and become another dynamic route-runner like John Metchie was last season. Among the biggest surprise players this season for Alabama at wide receiver is freshman Kobe Prentice. Prentice has caught 12 receptions for 119 yards in three games this season.