By Drew Hill
Special to TideSports.com
What is new for Alabama wideout Jerry Jeudy?
The former five-star recruit is 753 miles from hometown in Florida, with a brand new coaching staff, a new playbook, and a completely different surrounding cast.
None of that mattered in Saturday’s A-Day game in Bryant-Denny Stadium, because he looked right at home from kickoff.
The true freshman caught five passes on eight targets for 134 yards and two touchdowns to lead all receivers in yardage and scores. His strong performance was enough to earn him the Dixie Howell Memorial Award for the most valuable player in this year’s A-Day game.
When he arrived in Tuscaloosa, Jeudy’s high school statistics were impressive, especially to a team who lost three of its top four wide receivers in the offseason, but the young talent confirmed his stand out numbers with his unmatched performance against the Crimson team defense on Saturday.
“(Jeudy) has improved well,” coach Nick Saban said. “He had a good day today. We obviously need some young guys to come through for us because receiver is not a position where we have a lot of depth.”
There were early signs that it was just Jeudy’s day. On his first touchdown reception of the game, Jeudy had a tipped ball fall right into his lap after fellow receiver Xavian Marks let a pass from Tua Tagovailoa bounce off his hands. With nobody in front of him, he scampered in for the 25-yard score.
But the easy first touchdown can’t describe the type of game that Jeudy put together. The freshman caught four passes along the sideline during the game, including two that required tricky footwork along the sideline. For a freshman his hands looked impressive, but his footwork looked even better.
“You saw him out there today,” Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick said. “He’s making great plays and has crazy athletic catches out there. He was having fun.”
The freshman caught a second touchdown pass in the second quarter on 29-yard strike across the middle from Tagovailoa. The Crimson secondary was looking shaky up to that point, and Jeudy was a large reason why.
“He definitely proved himself out there,” Fitzpatrick said. “He’s a great player to play against.”
Jeudy’s most athletic catch of the day did not come on one of his first half touchdowns, it came on a drive midway through the third quarter. Freshman quarterback Mac Jones threw a deep pass that was intended to be a another back-shoulder fade, but instead it went high, where Jeudy made a leaping catch, twisting his body, while also tapping both feet inbounds.