Alabama has not used a tight end as a major part of the passing game since Irv Smith Jr. had 710 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018, but one returning Crimson Tide player flashed potential for that kind of production at the position in 2020.
Jahleel Billingsley headlines the tight ends for Alabama in 2021. The junior from Chicago caught 18 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns in 2020. The 287 yards were good for fifth on the team.
Billingsley really made a surge late in the season with all three touchdowns and the bulk of his receptions coming in the last half of the season, starting with the Iron Bowl where he scored the first touchdown of his career. He had four catches, including a touchdown, in the College Football Playoff semi-final win over Notre Dame.
Only one other tight end, Miller Forristall, scored a touchdown for the Tide in 2020, so the team will not have to replace a lot of production in the receiving game, but Forristall provided some receiving ability and experience in the blocking game as well.
Three other returning players that also have experience in the blocking game are redshirt seniors Kendall Randolph and Major Tennison and redshirt junior Cameron Latu. Randolph plays both tight end and offensive line and started six games as tight end in 2020 but did not catch any passes.
Tennison only had one catch for the Tide in 2020; however, he has shown his pass-catching abilities with three catches and a touchdown in 2019.
Latu came into Alabama as one of the country's top defensive end prospects before switching to tight end in 2019. Like Randolph, Latu does not have any career catches, but he is a contributor on special teams and played in 12 games in 2020.
The two freshman out of the 2021 recruiting class that could make an impact this season are Caden Clark from Akron, Ohio and Robbie Ouzts from Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Overall, tight end is a position that has been underutilized by Alabama in recent seasons, but could see a resurgence behind the growth of Billingsley.
Crimson Tide Tight Ends
- Returning: Jahleel Billingsley; Cameron Latu; Major Tennison; Kendall Randolph
- True Freshman: Caden Clark; Robbi Ouzts
- Departed: Miller Forristall; Carl Tucker
This is the fourth story in a series previewing the 2021 Crimson Tide by position.