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Alabama 2022 Fall Football Preview: Wide Receiver Position Battle

The Crimson Tide lost all three starting receivers and will need to reload in a hurry.

Alabama v Auburn
Will Ja’Corey Brooks Follow Up His Iron Bowl Performance With Success In 2022?
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

For most teams, losing their top three wide receivers to the NFL would put a fan base on suicide watch. But Alabama is not just any ol’ team. They have reloaded and have many new options at the three receiver position.

Some of the young Crimson Tide pass-catcher are starting to blossom. just to be safe, Nick Saban has stealthily added a few upperclassmen transfers.


Chick-fil-A Kickoff - Alabama v Miami Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

(All stats are 2021 season only.)

  • Jameson Williams (79 REC 1,572 YDS, 15 TD) - First round draft pick of the Detroit Lions, 12th overall.
  • John Metchie (96 REC 1,142 YDS, 8 TD) - Second round draft pick of the Houston Texans, 44th overall.
  • Slade Bolden (42 REC, 408 YDS, 3 TD) - Despite having remaining eligibility, Bolden opted to move on to the NFL. He was not drafted but signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent. By all reports, he should make the team.
  • Agiye Hall - Addition by subtraction. All the talent in the world but not much discipline or self-control. He had an impressive A-Day but could not control his attitude or be bothered to work hard in practice or in the classroom. He performed some disappearing acts in the spring that got him suspended from the team and got the itchy Twitter finger. At that point, the writing was on the wall. The rising sophomore transferred to Texas and has already been suspended from the Longhorns for acting the fool.
  • Javon Baker was another guy who showed flashes of brilliance but often found himself in the Bama doghouse. Murmurs of academic issues have followed him since he was a recruit. He originally announced a move to Kentucky but ended up at UCF.


After Jamo and Metchie, the top 2021 Alabama pass-catchers were TE Cameron Latu, WR Bolden, RB Brian Robinson, and TE Jahleel Billingsley. Only Latu returns from that group.

Traeshon Holden 14 21 239 11.4 1 17.1
Ja'Corey Brooks 15 15 192 12.8 2 12.8
JoJo Earle 12 12 148 12.3 0 12.3
Thaiu Jones-Bell 5 2 16 8.0 0 3.2
Christian Leary 8 2 4 2.0 1 0.5

  • Ja’Corey Brooks, Soph - Continuing on his excellent late season performance last fall, Brooks has been working with the first team in practice. You may also recall he blocked a punt against TAMU that was returned for an Alabama touchdown.
  • Traeshon Holden, JR - Reports out of fall camp have it that Holden has been a frequent target of Bryce Young and has made some spectacular catches and explosive plays.
  • Thaiu Jones-Bell, JR - With his two lone career receptions coming against New Mexico State, he seems to have been lost in the shuffle.
  • JoJo Earle, Soph - He will miss the first few weeks of the season due to a foot fracture.
  • Christian Leary, Soph - Looking for his role on the team.



  • Jermaine Burton, JR - 6-1 / 200 (Calabasas, CA) -
    Errybody: Nobody convinces a wide receiver from a National Championship team to transfer to their school!
    Jonathan Allen: Alabama does (sunglasses on).
    Yes, Saban continues to confound the masses by pulling a returning starter from the Georgia Bulldogs to come play at Tuscaloosa. And why wouldn’t Burton want to come to Bama after seeing five Tide receivers selected in the first round over the last three Drafts. Plus, playing second fiddle to a bunch of returning McHonkys targeted by a YOLO walk-on QB cannot help one’s stock. Burton had only 26 catches for 497 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore in Athens. He already has excellent rapport with his former high school rival Bryce Young and figures to be a vital part of Bama’s passing game in 2022.
  • Tyler Harrell, R-JR - 6-1 / 194 (Miami, FL) – Another previously ignored receiver is this speed demon from Louisville. He was fifth on his previous team in receptions with 18 but third in yards at 523. That comes out to whopping 29.1 ypc. You would think the Cardinals would get him the ball more often until you realize that their QB is Malik Cunningham (sad trombone). Harrell led the ‘Ville in receiving scores at six. The hope is he can be a home run hitter in the style of Jameson Williams. About Harrell Saban said, he “has shown a lot of ability.” However, he has reportedly gotten off to a slow start during camp.


Most of the newbies have been acclimating themselves to the team.

  • Aaron Anderson #35 overall, 5-9 / 184 (New Orleans, LA) - has a “little knee injury” and is working his way back.
  • Isaiah Bond #52, 5-11 / 175 (Buford, GA)
  • Shazz Preston #56, 6-1 / 190 (Saint James, LA)
  • Kobe Prentice #78, 5-10 / 171 (Calera, AL) - Reports from camp say that has been impressive while working with the second-team offense, hauling in several passes.
  • Kendrick Law #86, 5-11 / 193 (Shreveport, LA) - Law had the advantage of being an early enrollee.


  • During his recruitment to Alabama, there had been talk that five-star freshman RB Emmanuel Henderson may not want to play running back at the college level. On Saturday, Saban confirmed that he has been working at wide receiver. “He’s been doing a nice job of making progress there.”
  • His position is running back, but Jahmyr Gibbs should significantly factor into the passing game. At times, we could see him in the backfield and then shift out to a receiver slot or he could just line up out wide. The Georgia Tech transfer had 36 grabs, 470 yards, and 2 touchdowns as a receiver last season.
  • Freshman Amari Niblack (6-4/225) is officially a tight end but there is a possibility he could play wide receiver at some point.


My predicted starters come Sept 3:

  • Burton
  • Brooks
  • Holden

What do you think? Am I off my rocker or spot on? Share with us in the Comments section below.


Which freshman receiver has the best break-out potential in 2022?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Aaron Anderson
    (90 votes)
  • 4%
    Isaiah Bond
    (30 votes)
  • 6%
    Shazz Preston
    (37 votes)
  • 55%
    Kobe Prentice
    (331 votes)
  • 4%
    Kendrick Law
    (26 votes)
  • 14%
    None of them are quite ready.
    (87 votes)
601 votes total Vote Now

For more fall position reviews, you can always check out the stream entitled 2022 Alabama Football Fall Practice Coverage & Previews found on the front page.