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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Alabama looks to replace Jaylen Waddle’s production

Alabama vs Tennessee Photo by Caleb Jones/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

Jones obviously trusts Bolden, which is important. When the latter entered the game against the Vols, Jones told him, “You’re ready to roll, so just do your job,” and Bolden responded with career-highs in both receptions and receiving yards. The quarterback said Bolden is “one of the most improved players on our team, and he’s going to continue to grow and improve.”

“He’s a guy who knows what to do. He knows where to line up,” Jones said. “He’s played a lot of different positions. Shoot, he’s even played defense before in the spring practices before. The guy knows a lot about football. If you go and watch his high school highlights — I always like watching his highlights because it gets me pretty fired up. He’s making plays. So, when you have somebody that can make plays like that and put him wherever you want on the field, he’s a guy that’s super versatile. I’ve got a lot of banked reps with him.

“... So, I always appreciate Slade and he’s going to do a good job. He’s just getting started.”

In replacing Jaylen Waddle, Alabama turned first to junior Slade Bolden, the WR/QB/RB/DB/KR/PR. Bolden made a high school career of playing nearly every skill position on the field and just generally being impossible for high schoolers to tackle. He’s not just a slot guy with good hands and route-running, but someone who can make guys miss and run through tackles when need be.

And, most importantly, he’s spend a lot of time the last two years working directly with Mac Jones as Tua Tagovailoa took all of the first team reps with guys like Devonta Smith.

True freshman wide receiver Javon Baker made his Alabama debut this past weekend against Tennessee, but he has impressed at least one of his new teammates during practice.

“I haven’t matched up against him, but he’s a great player,” Crimson Tide safety Jordan Battle said. “He has great routes and he has probably the greatest hands on the team. He has strong hands. As a player, he reminds me of, almost like an Amari Cooper type of guy.”

It’s seemed pretty clear the Bolden’s top competition for that 3rd receiver spot is going to be freshman Javon Baker. I think Battle comparing him to Amari Cooper is a bit ridiculous, as Battle was at the onset of high school the year that Coop was moving on the pros, but Baker absolutely has a lot of immediately potential, especially as a guy with a big catch radius to win more of those contested throws.

0 Passing TDs for Alabama in the Crimson Tide’s 48-17 victory over Tennessee on Saturday. That ended a streak of 47 consecutive games in which Alabama had scored at least one TD through the air. The previous game in which the Tide did not have a passing TD was its 24-7 victory over Washington in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31, 2016. Against Tennessee, Alabama had five rushing TDs and one TD on a fumble recovery.

Man, what a time that was in 2016. With freshman Jalen Hurts at QB, Alabama only attempted 14 passes all game, gaining a total of 57 yards. It was the game the got Lane Kiffin pushed out the door.

With the last 2.5 seasons of Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones scoring 35+ points every single game and the Crimson Tide leading the nation in passing week in and week out, that Peach Bowl with Hurts is a distant memory that doesn’t even feel real.

The No. 1 safety in the Top247 in Lafayette (La.) Christian Academy’s Sage Ryan has locked in his commitment date for Oct. 31. The five-star prospect shared the news on his Twitter page Tuesday evening.

Ryan is working from a top three that includes Alabama, LSU and Clemson. The in-state Tigers are the current 247Sports Crystal Ball favorite but a source Tuesday says keep a close eye on Alabama.

On the recruiting front, keep an eye on this guy in a few days. He’s not really been talked about as a strong candidate for Alabama, but when a 5-star player puts Alabama in the final three, there’s always a chance.

In more unfortunate news, Alabama has lost the commitment from 5-star 2022 edge rusher, Jeremiah Alexander:

Alabama is back down to one commitment for its 2022 recruiting class.

Five-star Thompson edge rusher Jeremiah Alexander decommitted from the Crimson Tide Tuesday night.

Being an in-state kid with two seasons of high school football left to go, I’d say there’s still plenty of chance he winds up coming back to Alabama before his recruiting cycle is done.

That’s all for today. Roll Tide!