John Metchie III makes most of first opportunity with Alabama football, scores twice in win
John Metchie III entered Saturday with six career catches for 65 yards, having failed to reach the end zone. He was a high-profile signees in Alabama’s 2019 recruiting class, but one faced with the logjam of four wide receivers with first-round potential.
Metchie’s first opportunity came on Saturday; he turned in a performance that will earn him many more in weeks and years to come.
Metchie’s five catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns were a catalyst for both quarterback Mac Jones’ 435-yard performance and Alabama’s 52 points in a 52-24 win over Texas A&M.
“I told you about his sneaky speed,” fellow wide receiver Jaylen Waddle said. “He got to showcase that today.”
Metchie’s speed helped him be the most explosive player in UA’s offense, with three of his five catches going for 35 or more yards and two going for more than 60. His first was a 78-yard touchdown on third-and-8, when Metchie found a way past his defensive back and provided Jones an easy, albeit well downfield, target.
Metchie’s performance will have an impact beyond a win over the Aggies. It comes after a week in which 22 of UA’s 32 pass attempts were intended for the two returning receivers of note, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. It would be logical for opposing defenses to shift their secondary to better cover Smith and Waddle, leaving unproven options such as Metchie with less challenging individual matchups.
In his performance, Metchie put on film for the rest of the SEC what UA already knew.
“We’ve always thought John is a real threat,” Saban said.
Saban added no receiver is going to be a consistent featured player in Alabama’s offense: the receiver looking at the most favorable matchup is likely to change from week to week, often based more on the opposing defense than any decisions made by UA offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and staff.
When it’s Metchie’s turn again, a performance like this one is not the ceiling. As Jones looked back on the day, he thought he was responsible for keeping Metchie from more.
“Some missed opportunities from me and stuff, that double-move I had to him, I overthrew him,” Jones said of an incompletion early in the third quarter, which could have been a 73-yard touchdown. “He played really well and he’s going to continue to play really well because he works hard at practice. We have that chemistry that’s built up from years past, too.”
Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson