Can Slade Bolden Hold Off a Talented Group of Freshman?
When Jaylen Waddle went down with an ankle injury against Tennessee, Slade Bolden stepped into the starting lineup. Outside of Tuscaloosa, Bolden was not a well known player, but he quickly introduced himself to the college football world.
He hauled in six receptions for 94 yards on the day and assumed punt and kickoff return duties. Bolden came into the season with only two receptions for 34 yards in his career. He finished the season with 24 receptions for 270 yards and a touchdown.
Javon Baker, Thaiu Jones-Bell and Traeshon Holden all played in a limited role last season as true freshman. Baker made an impression in the summer and during fall camp last season. Safety Jordan Battle raved about Baker comparing him to Alabama's all-time leading receiver, Amari Cooper. "He's a great player," Battle said. He has great routes, and he has probably the greatest hands on the team."
JaCorey Brooks, Christian Leary and Agiye Hall are all early enrollees that will take part in spring practice. JoJo Earle is also part of the recent recruiting class. Brooks is five-star prospect and the No. 2 ranked wide receiver in the class of 2021 according to 247Sports. He is a bigger wideout at 6-foot-3 and may be too talented to keep off the field early. Hall is the nations fifth-ranked receiver according to 247Sports. Like Brooks, Hall is another bigger framed receiver that can separate himself from the pack because of his size.
Leary can take the top off of a defense. He is one of the fastest players in the class of 2021, posting a 10.5 in the 100-meter dash as a junior. Earle is another track star with a smaller frame. Leary and Earle could be leading candidates to start in the slot because of the speed they possess.
The Crimson Tide may lack a ton of experience at wide receiver, but they certainly have one of the deepest core's in the country.