Jeudy leads in statsheet, on field as sophomore


CW/ Hannah Saad

Cody Estremera, Sports Editor

Ever since he committed to Alabama on July 28, 2016, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy has been compared to former Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley. The comparison makes sense.

Both players are from Pompano Beach, Florida, 6-foot-1 and about the same weight. Both players were ranked as five-star recruits and run a sub-4.5 40-yard dash.

“Dude’s crazy,” running back Josh Jacobs said. “You see him run, he looks exactly like Calvin [Ridley]. His route running looks identical, except I’d say he’s probably a little more shifty. Dude, I guess his film kind of speaks for itself. He’s an amazing player.”

That speed has caused problems for opposing defenses all year. Jeudy has nine total touchdowns, with five of them going for longer than 50 yards.

The best example of his speed torching defenses was against Missouri. Before the play started, the Missouri defensive back was nine yards off him, and when Jeudy made the catch, he was three yards past him sprinting ahead for an 81-yard touchdown.

“We’re just trying to make the best of our opportunities,” Jeudy said. “Every time we get the ball, we’re just trying to do what we can, not too more, not too less. That’s just something that we work on, practice on, just trying to help the team win.”

The former No. 3 wide receiver is one of 29 players from the star-studded 2017 recruiting class. Joining him were DeVonta Smith and Henry Ruggs III, who were the No. 6 and No. 9 receivers, respectively.

The three have caught 68 of the 127 passes this season, for 1,493 yards and 18 touchdowns.

“We have a pretty good system that we’ve been able to utilize those things that they can make explosive plays,” coach Nick Saban said. “Those guys have really good speed, they’re good getting in and out of breaks. They’ve got good hands.”

Through seven games this season, Jeudy leads Alabama in receptions with 26, yards with 705 and touchdowns with nine. His 705 receiving yards leads the SEC and is sixth in the NCAA. His average of 27.1 yards a catch leads the country. He is also averaging 42.8 yards on his touchdown catches.

The nine touchdowns place Jeudy fourth all-time at Alabama for a single season. The record is 16, which was set in 2014 by Amari Cooper, but the sophomore receiver isn’t focused on the record.

“I just come out there and do what I’m supposed to do to help the team win,” Jeudy said.

Now that he is in his second year, Jeudy has made the transition from a freshman trying to learn the playbook and how college football works to a leader on the offensive side of the ball. The biggest step he took toward becoming that leader in the offseason was not getting frustrated on plays.

“When you play receiver, you run 70 plays in a game and you run fast, and you try to get open every one of those plays,” Saban said. “They won’t all be pass plays, but whether it’s blocking or whatever it is, and maybe you get the ball on a big day maybe five times. Sometimes you’re open and you think you should get the ball, but it’s being able to understand that you’re creating value for yourself every time you beat the DB.”