As Alabama prepares to begin spring practice in less than a month’s time, the third edition of my series breaking down the positional units on the Tide’s roster focuses on the wide receivers and tight ends.
Last season saw Nick Saban turn his focus onto upgrading his pass-catching unit, and the overhaul was successful considering the emergence of star freshman receiver Amari Cooper and the phenomenal season turned in by quarterback A.J. McCarron.
With McCarron and a dynamic cast of running backs in tow, the receiving unit—which loses only tight end Michael Williams and H-back Kelly Johnson to graduation—could be the best collection of pass-catchers Saban has fielded since arriving in Tuscaloosa.
Kevin Norwood and Christion Jones, the two receivers who finished last season in the starting rotation alongside Cooper, are both returning.
Veterans Kenny Bell and DeAndrew White are also set to return after injuries cost them significant time a year ago. Also, young talents like Cyrus Jones and Chris Black will get a chance to throw their names in the mix to get in the rotation this fall.
While the tight end position will be up for grabs, stud recruit and early enrollee O.J. Howard will undoubtedly be one of the most anticipated newcomers taking part in spring drills.
Howard will join tight ends Brian Vogler, Harrison Jones, Kurt Freitag and Malcolm Faciane for the right to fill the vacancies left by Williams and Johnson.
What can Tide fans expect from both pass-catching groups, and which spots will find the most intense competition during spring ball?
Find out the answers to those questions and more in this primer breaking down the Tide’s receiver and tight end units.