The Spring Prospectus is a daily series taking a quick look at each position group before UA beings spring practice. This list of position groups will be updated with links as each one posts: quarterback, running backs, tight ends, offensive line, defensive line, inside linebackers, outside linebackers, cornerbacks, safeties and special teams.
The expectations were set for 2019 as soon as 2018 ended: four University of Alabama wide receivers ended the season with at least 500 receiving yards and all of them were coming back for 2019.
The same corps did it again, all of them amassing at least 500 receiving yards in 2019. This time, only two of them return.
The void left by Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III gives several UA receivers a spot up for grabs when spring practice begins on March 13.
Top returners: DeVonta Smith (led the team with 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns) and Jaylen Waddle (six receiving touchdowns, three in the Iron Bowl).
Losses: Jeudy (NFL Draft), Ruggs (NFL Draft)
Returning depth: John Metchie III, Tyrell Shavers, Xavier Williams, Slade Bolden and Chadarius Townsend.
Early enrollees: Traeshon Holden (four-star from Kissimmee, Florida) and Thaiu Jones-Bell (four-star from Hallandale, Florida).
The departures of Ruggs and Jeudy may be just as beneficial for Waddle as it is for any receiver that works his way into the rotation. Waddle, recipient of just 33 receptions in 2019, had an understated role thanks to the trio of Jeudy (77 catches), Smith (68) and Ruggs (40).
There will still be receptions up for grabs after Smith and Waddle get theirs, and therein lies the most important battle in this position group. Shavers, Metchie and Bolden were the next wave of receivers in 2019, thus the most likely candidates for that third and fourth spot in 2020.
Bolden found a way onto the field in a different role, as a Wildcat quarterback, but as a whole the trio doesn’t have much experience: Shavers (redshirt junior), Metchie (sophomore) and Bolden (redshirt sophomore) combined for seven catches last season.