Miami Hurricanes DBs face huge challenge versus Alabama WRs

Oct 26, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 26, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama has become a wide receiver factory under Nick Saban. Beginning with Julio Jones in 2011, seven Crimson Tide WRs have been first-round picks including four in the last two seasons. The Miami Hurricanes defensive backs will be tested by the Alabama WRs led by John Metchie in the season opener on September 4.

The competition to be a first-team cornerback was fierce during training camp for Miami. Heading into preparations for Alabama next week the CB depth chart has not been set yet. Te’Cory Couch and D.J. Ivey have been getting the first-team CB reps recently in practice. Al Blades Jr. and Tyrique Stevenson are critical in the CB rotation.

Stevenson transferred to Miami with the hope he could become a shutdown CB for the Hurricanes. Although no official Miami Hurricanes depth chart has been released, multiple reports are that Couch and Ivey are currently the first-team CBs. Metchie will ascend to the top WR for Alabama in 2021.

As primarily the second WR in 2020 behind Heisman Trophy winner Da’Vonta Smith in 2020, Metchie finished with 55 receptions for 916 yards and six touchdowns. Pro Football Focus projects Agiye Hall as the second WR for Alabama in 2021 as part of their article “Ranking the top 10 wide receiver duos entering 2021.”

"ALABAMA: JOHN METCHIE III + AGIYE HALL“John Metchie III is one of the top returning wide receivers in all of college football. He’s destined to be a big-play threat for Alabama this fall thanks to his ability to win vertically and at the line of scrimmage against press coverage.Last year, Metchie generated 3.55 yards per route run against press coverage, which is the fifth-best mark by a Power Five receiver over the past five seasons. The reason the Crimson Tide fail to produce a top 10 wide receiver duo heading into the year is the lack of a proven No. 2.That’s not to say there aren’t promising talents who could change that by season’s end, such as the 6-foot-3, 195-pound true freshman Agiye Hall. Hall tore it up at Alabama’s spring game, showcasing elite ball skills and winning with his size.He has all the tools to be the next elite receiving talent to come out of Alabama, but he still has to take the field and showcase those traits in an actual game before we call this a top-tier tandem.”"

Ohio State transfer WR Jameson Williams will be a “featured guy in some ways” according to Saban and that “you can tell he’s an experienced player…He’s played at a high level against good competition. And he’s very bright. So he’s picked up on things and learned the offense very quickly.” Williams brings more speed.

In two seasons with Ohio State, Williams had 15 receptions for 266 yards and three TDs. Hall had 141 receptions for 2,688 yards and 33 touchdowns during his high school career. The Miami Hurricanes could also be challenged on special teams by Hall. Hall averaged 48 yards on four kickoff returns in high school.

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Stevenson played for Georgia last season when they lost 41-24 at Alabama. Metchie had three receptions for 50 yards and a TD as the Crimson Tide’s third WR behind Smith and 2021 Dolphins first-round pick Jaylen Waddle. Stevenson had five tackles. The Miami secondary could be the deciding factor against Alabama.