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Alabama Football: Crimson Tide's Receiving Corps Will Be Explosive in 2013

Jan 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Amari Cooper (9) celebrates his touchdown against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish with wide receiver Kevin Norwood (83) during the second half of the 2013 BCS Championship game at Sun Life Stadium.   Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJuly 31, 2013

Everybody is talking about what kind of season sophomore receiver Amari Cooper could have in 2013, and for good reason. He racked up 59 catches for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns in his rookie campaign.

But don't forget about the rest of Alabama's receiving corps.

No. 2 receiver Kevin Norwood was hampered last season due to injury. His basic 2012 numbers (29 catches, 461 yards, four touchdowns) don't accurately reflect the potential he has out on the field.

CJ Milner of DraftPanthers.com wrote in May:

Kevin Norwood is a well rounded wide receiver prospect that does everything fairly well. He is a solid route runner, has very good hands and makes good adjustments to the ball. Norwood’s long speed isn’t the best but his acceleration is up there with the top receiver prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Norwood should be able to stick in the NFL as a move-the-chains receiver. 

Looking deeper into Norwood's numbers in 2012, 21 of his 26 catches in the regular season were for first downs, per RollTide.com. Nine of those 26 receptions went for 15 yards or more. Not only does he make the catches that count, but he's also a deep threat for quarterback A.J. McCarron.

Cooper and Norwood were named to the preseason watch list for the 2013 Biletnikoff Award, given to the top receiver in the country, per Don Kausler Jr. of Al.com.

There's also senior Kenny Bell, who missed the SEC Championship Game and the BCS National Championship Game after suffering a broken left leg against Auburn Nov. 24. Bell is more experienced now, and if he stays healthy this season he should improve on his 2012 numbers (17 catches, 431 yards, three touchdowns). 

Also, like Norwood, most of Bell's receptions moved the chains. Twelve of his 17 catches went for first downs, per RollTide.com. He can also be a big-play threat, with nine of his 17 catches going for 15 yards or more. All three of his touchdown catches went for 39 yards or more.

That doesn't even include newcomer O.J. Howard, ranked as the No. 20 overall recruit and top tight end recruit in the 2013 class by 247Sports.com. According to Cliff Kirkpatrick of the Montgomery Advertiser, McCarron was "impressed" with Howard's athletic ability this summer. 

McCarron averaged 9.3 yards per pass attempt last season (tied for third in the nation) while tossing 30 touchdowns to three interceptions. With his receiving corps more experienced and healthy, it's hard to imagine what he could do in 2013-14.

 

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