Examining Jalen Hale's Impact on Alabama's 2023 Season Depth Chart

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IINovember 25, 2022

Collin Kennedy, 247Sports.com

Jalen Hale, a 4-star wide receiver who plays for Longview (Texas) High School, announced his commitment to suit up for Alabama in September over Texas, Georgia and Texas A&M.

He will join a Crimson Tide program with a rich history of producing NFL talent at wideout, including Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith and seven-time Pro Bowler Julio Jones.

Hale can certainly add his name to that list, and he sports enough talent to make an immediate impact for the Crimson Tide in his first year. However, the question is whether he'll have an opportunity to do so given the projected depth chart.

Hale is a three-sport star (track and field, basketball and football) who has torn it up for the undefeated Longview team. The 12-0 Lobos are about to face Port Arthur Memorial in the third round of the Texas 5A D1 state tournament.

Gabe Brooks, 247Sports' midlands region recruiting analyst, offered these comments in part in his Sept. 16 scouting report.

"Combination of physical tools, functional athleticism, three-sport athletic profile, and on-field context make for simultaneously high-floor wideout with promising developmental potential. Projects as a multi-year high-major starter who could ultimately progress to a candidate for the top half of the NFL Draft."

As far as his competition goes, Hale is the highest-ranked wideout for the Alabama class of 2023. He figures to at least have a leg up on the rest of his class for playing time.

The roadblock in 2023 is Alabama's depth chart at wideout. Every member right now has eligibility left after this season.

For example, leading receiver Ja'Corey Brooks is a true sophomore. Junior Jermaine Burton (No. 2 at wideout) could leave for the pros, but he's probably best served staying in school for one more year. The latest consensus big board from NFL Mock Draft Database has Burton ranked as the No. 268 overall prospect.

Traeshon Holden (No. 3 among wideouts in receiving yards) is a junior, and Kobe Prentice (No. 4) will be entering his sophomore season.

Of course, it's possible Hale forces the team's hand and plays his way into the lineup. At the very least, he can certainly see some work in mop-up duty when Alabama engineers a blowout and puts in reserves.

For now, though, it's hard to imagine that he'll carve out a huge chunk of reps in 2023. Look for Hale to begin making a big impact in 2024, though, as the depth chart ahead of him clears up a bit.