Monday, August 18, 2014

Alabama Analysis: Cooper leads talented unit of receivers

While Alabama's quarterback situation continues to be a prominent topic of discussion, the plethora of targets UA's eventual quarterback will have to throw to has been well established.

With arguably the best crop of receivers in the SEC, and quite possibly the nation before 2014 is over, 'Bama is poised to have a statistical juggernaut when it comes to the passing game if the Crimson Tide can cement a confident and efficient starting quarterback.

Blending familiar and proven talent with highly touted freshmen, UA will form what can only be considered a dream for the Crimson Tide offense, and a certifiable nightmare for any defensive secondary.

Prominent players

Amari Cooper (Wide Receiver)
Christion Jones (Wide Receiver)
DeAndrew White (Wide Receiver)

Jalston Fowler (Fullback/H-Back)
O.J. Howard (Tight End)
Brian Vogler (Tight End)

Emerging talent

Chris Black (Wide Receiver)
Raheem Falkins (Wide Receiver)
Robert Foster (Wide Receiver)
Derek Kief (Wide Receiver - True Freshman)
Cameron Sims (Wide Receiver - True Freshman)
ArDarius Stewart (Wide Receiver)

Dakota Ball (Tight End - Defensive lineman in 2013)
Malcolm Faciane (Tight End)
Ty Flournoy-Smith (Tight End - JUCO Transfer)
Kurt Freitag (Tight End)
Corey McCarron (Fullback/H-Back)

Departures from 2013

Kenny Bell (Wide Receiver)
Kevin Norwood (Wide Receiver)

Brandon Greene (Tight End - Returned to offensive line)
Harrison Jones (Tight End - Medical)

If Amari Cooper wasn't already the "headliner" of Alabama's talented receiving unit prior to this season, with the departure of playmaker Kevin Norwood, Cooper will almost certainly be the star attraction in 2014. Faced with lofty expectations as the season approaches, Cooper will be looked upon to make the big receptions at the most critical times.
Joining Cooper, to likely form Alabama's main trio, will be Christion Jones and DeAndrew White. Barring something unforeseen, Cooper, Jones, and White should garner most of the receptions in 2014. Chris Black will also vie for significant playing time as well, within this core unit.
In respect to the supporting cast at wide receiver, the talent pool is deep, yet the rotation is quite the mystery as of the present time. While too early to tell who will make an impact, and too early to tell which, if any, true freshmen will be given a redshirt, one can only speculate that players such as Robert Foster, Cameron Sims, and ArDarius Stewart will be three of the highly touted receivers who will contend for respectable minutes this season.

When it comes to the h-back/tight end position, which is still a vital tool within the Alabama passing game, expect O.J. Howard to have a huge season. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has a track record of utilizing the tight end in the passing game, so look for Howard, as well as Jalston Fowler, Brian Vogler, and potentially JUCO transfer Ty Flournoy-Smith to be on the receiving end of numerous passes this fall.
As was the case in 2013, Alabama is loaded at the receiver position. If the UA offensive line can be stout in the trenches, and the Crimson Tide can find a quarterback who is stable in the pocket, 'Bama certainly has the potential to make some serious waves in the passing game this season.

Unit rating: 9/10

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