18 catches for 204 yards. No, those are not Amari Cooper's stats from the last game. I know he's been the hot topic as of late, something or another about a Heisman candidate, but those numbers are not his. Actually, that is the total catches and yards that all the Alabama receivers who will be on the team next year have accumulated over their entire careers. Not a single game. Careers. And 13 catches for 137 yards of those are from Chris Black
In fact, if Blake Sims continues to forget about the existence of O.J. Howard at his current pace, there is a really solid chance Kenyan Drake enters 2015 as the team's leading receiver. Yeah, a running back.
Amari Cooper will likely be a top-ten draft pick next spring, with a chance to even go top five. Deandrew White will graduate, and should be drafted somewhere in the mid-to-later rounds. Christion Jones will also graduate, and has a chance to sneak into the back end of the draft. With these three leaving, pretty much all of our experience at WR makes like me in a social situation and disappears.
Chris Black will be the most experienced returner, and boy is he quick. Still not sold on his hands though. Robert Foster was the highest rated receiver coming out of high school, and looked really good in the spring game, but looks to have lost his position to freshman Cam Sims. Speaking of, Cam Sims, Derek Keif, and Raheem Falkins are all 6'5" receivers cut out of the same mold, but none have an in-game catch to this point.
But that's not why you're reading this...
You want to know who's next, don't you Squidward...?
Well, you are in luck, as two young and energetic receivers have been convinced to join the ranks of Lane Kiffin's brigade.
|Last Name||First Name||Last Name||State||Stars||National Rank||Position Rank||Height||Weight|
The six-foot, 180 pound receiver decided that participating in Nike's SPARQ program was beneath him or something, so I have no athletic data to look at here (but don't worry, more will come later). He supposedly ran a 4.39 forty-yard dash at LSU's camp this summer, so the guy is not lacking in speed.
Charlot, however, does not play like his size indicates. He plays much bigger. By far his most impressive quality is his ability to go up and over defenders and high point the football. His body control is absolutely uncanny, often spinning all the way around to catch a ball over a defender, and then staying on his feet to gain a few more yards.
Charlot is very impressive after the catch, consistently displaying yet again his amazing body control and balance. He evades tacklers and often just bounces off of tackles without losing balance. His straight line speed and short distance acceleration both look well above average to the eye test. His route running also seems fairly polished, as he throws in subtle head fakes without wasting steps on quite a few of his routes.
Charlot looks to be a well polished and athletic receiver, but again, his stand out quality is his body control. Its almost as if he has a stabilizing system somewhere in his body. I can't think of any recent Alabama receivers that his game reminds me of, but I think that Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate would be a good comparison.
One .gif doesn't do Charlot justice in my opinion, so here is his entire junior highlight video courtesy of Hudl:
|Last Name||First Name||Position||State||Stars||National Rank||Position Rank||Height||Weight||40-Yard Dash||20-Yard Shuttle||Vertical Jump||Power Throw||SPARQ||Z-Score|
Now this is the guy you've been waiting to hear about. Calvin "Showtime" Ridley. He is quite an intriguing dude. On film, he looks insanely explosive. But with a Z-score of 0.48, he only measured out slightly better than the average receiver. He has more of a strider's speed with his long arms and legs, and SPARQ (here is my article on SPARQ and Z-scores in case you missed it) typically weights against players as skinny as Ridley, which probably all explains his relatively* low score.
*Still more athletic than 68% of all collegiate receivers.
Ridley is at his best when he runs in a straight line as fast as he can down the field. His lengthy limbs and speed make him a tremendous deep threat, as shown by his average of over 20 yards per reception on his career, and he shows great ability to adjust to balls thrown over either shoulder. He also shows good elusiveness with the ball in his hands as a kick returner and on screens.
His route running is, well, we don't know. He just runs deep streaks and screens. More than likely, that is pretty much all he has done, and route running will be a steep learning curve upon arrival in college. He does, however show an insanely impressive release against press coverage:
Ridley just has a knack for making exciting plays, and I will admit it's hard to figure out why. He's awkwardly skinny, did not test that well athletically, and doesn't show very much technical knowledge as a receiver. Yet... He's a consensus five star recruit that absolutely dominated Nike's "The Opening" 7-on-7 tournament with Blake Barnett. I am not sure how well his game will transfer to the college level, but Calvin Ridley just has a knack for doing awesome things.
He actually reminds me of a very unpolished A.J. Green, who at 6'4" 211, ran a 4.50 forty time, a 34.5 inch vertical, and a 4.21 shuttle. The two are very similar, and that's not a bad player to be compared to.
And of course, there is this:
If you want a second opinion, here is Bud Elliot of SBNation Recruiting's scouting report.
Hopefully these two guys will pick up the slack after Cooper, White, and Jones leave. Arkansas commit K.J. Hill, Miss St. commit Keith Mixon, and Georgia commit Terry Godwin are all guys that Nick Saban is still heavily recruiting, and are still considering Alabama. I haven't done too much research on K.J. Hill or Godwin (though both are highly rated), but Mixon is an ideal miniature slot receiver in the mold of Chris Black.
That's all I have for now. Let me know in the comments what you think, and what position I should look at for the next article.