It might not seem to be the case on the surface but there are similarities between Canada and the Alabama Crimson Tide. For example, the Canadian flag and the Alabama uniforms share the same color scheme.
Secondly, there’s Jon Metchie III. He is Canada’s gift to Crimson Tide football. The six-foot, 195-pound sophomore wide receiver stepped into a major role for last year’s national championship squad following the season-ending injury to Jaylen Waddle. Playing opposite Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, Metchie caught 81 balls for 916 yards and six touchdowns.
As Alabama prepares for the 2021 NCAA football season, college football fans who are sports betting in Canada
are high on the chances of the Crimson Tide defending both their SEC and national titles. And that excitement north of the Canada-US border has a lot to do with the Canadian content on the Alabama roster.
Metchie Makes His Mark
Waddle, chosen sixth overall by the Miami Dolphins, was enjoying a spectacular 2020 campaign. He’d gone over 120 yards in receiving in each of Alabama’s first four games. However, on the opening kickoff against Tennessee, he suffered a season-ending ankle injury.
Enter Metchie, another sterling example of how deep the Crimson Tide roster goes in talented performers at all positions. The 20-year-old from Brampton, Ontario caught seven passes for 151 yards, a 21.6 yards-per-catch average, in the Tide’s 48-17 dismantling of the Volunteers.
Metchie only caught one pass in the 63-3 rout of Kentucky, but it was an 18-yard TD reception. He snared six balls during the 42-13 drubbing of No. 22 Auburn, two of those catches going for scores.
He also found the end zone twice earlier in the season when Alabama dumped No. 13 Texas A&M 52-24. That included a 78-yard catch-and-run TD to open the scoring. Metchie went for 181 yards on five receptions in that game. Facing No. 3 Georgia, Metchie got on the other end of a 40-yard scoring reception from Mac Jones, also the opening score of Alabama’s 41-24 rout.
The talented Metchie, playing last season as a redshirt freshman, saved his best for last. As Alabama humbled Ohio State 52-24 in the national championship game, Metchie made a single-game career-high eight receptions.
Impressive From The Start
During Alabama’s 2019 spring game, Metchie was named MVP of the A-Day Game. Nonetheless, when the season got underway, he was No. 5 on the Crimson Tide depth chart behind Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, Smith and Waddle.
"It motivated me a lot," Metchie told Sports Illustrated
. "Alabama is one of those places that you come here if you love competition and, as everyone saw (in 2019), our receiver room was full of competitors, and I think that helped me grow a lot.
"It also helped me see like, the potential and what I could possibly achieve, so I think being in that room, and just that whole year of me kind of being behind all of those guys really helped."
Two years later, Jeudy (Denver Broncos) and Ruggs (Las Vegas Raiders) are NFL players and Waddle and Smith (10th overall to the Philadelphia Eagles) are NFL draft picks. That leaves Mechie as the man among Alabama wideouts.
"He’s a strong receiver," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "He’s got good quickness. He’s got really strong hands. I think he’s a smart guy. He really plays the game well.
"He pays attention to detail, runs good routes. He’s fast, and he’s quick out of a break. He’s really played well for us. He is the epitome of what you look for in a receiver."
A Canadian Icon
Metchie is the first Canadian to win a college football national title since LSU’s Peter Dyakowski in 2003. Interestingly, Saban was also Dyakowski’s coach.
If that means Metchie is serving as an inspiration to Canadian high school football players who dare to dream big, then he’s okay with it.
"I wouldn’t say I feel the eyes of the country watching me, but I definitely feel prideful about being from Canada," Metchie said. "And just being a kid from Canada, given the chance to play here at Alabama, I’m extremely grateful for it, and I definitely don’t take it for granted.
"I just wanna show kids from Canada that they can really do anything they put their minds to, especially if they wanna play football at the highest level."
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