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The Saban Top 100: No. 16 Jerry Jeudy

The Saban Top 100: No. 16 Jerry Jeudy

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The Saban Top 100: No. 16 Jerry Jeudy

BamaCentral is ranking the top 100 players of the Nick Saban era at Alabama over the course of the 2020 football season

16] Jerry Jeudy, WR

  • Won 2018 Fred Biletnikoff Award
  • 2018 Consensus All-American; 2019 All-American
  • 2018-19 All-SEC
  • 15th-overall selection in 2020 NFL Draft
  • His 26 career touchdown receptions were second all-time in Alabama history
  • He’s fourth on the Crimson Tide’s career receiving yards list with 2,742 yards on 159 catches
  • The 17.2 average yards per catch for his career was second behind Ozzie Newsome’s 20.3
  • During his final game was named MVP of the Citrus Bowl after having a career-best 204 receiving yards on six catches against Michigan
  • Had 1,163 receiving yards during his final season, third most in Alabama history, after notching 1,315 the year before when he won the Biletnikoff
  • The 19.3 yards per catch in 2018 set a Crimson Tide single-season record (minimum 50 catches), surpassing the previous total of 17.0 by DJ Hall in 2006

It was almost like hearing the trumpet’s “Call to Post” at Kentucky Downs.

There’s wide receiver Jerry Jeudy lining up in the slot and the defense making the mistake of trying to play man against him. If quarterback Tua Tagovailoa recognized it, and he usually had no problem doing so, the subsequent play could be like off to the races — and the defense didn’t know yet that it had already lost.

“He’s a rare talent,” running back Damien Harris said.

Of all of Alabama’s offensive playmakers in 2019, and there are a lot of them, Jeudy may have been the one who was toughest to stop.

He wasn’t targeted as often as the previous season’s primary wide receiver, Calvin Ridley, the first-round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons, but showed that he could reach the end zone from anywhere.

The human highlight film scored the first touchdown of the season, the 11-yard catch when Tagovailoa spun and bought some extra time against Louisville. He later came back and scored a 25-yard touchdown just before halftime.

Jeudy again scored the first touchdown against Arkansas State, a 58-yard catch in stride with no defender standing in the way of the end zone. For an encore, he had a 7-yard touchdown catch midway through the second quarter.

The pattern quickly developed.

Jeudy scored Alabama’s third touchdown against Ole Miss, but it was the one that was the equivalent of sunlight to a vampire. He left everyone in his dust again, scoring a 79-yard touchdown.

“Racking up points like that is kind of demoralizing for the defense and to the other team, as well,” Alabama junior left tackle Jonah Williams said. “Just kind of looking up at the scoreboard and saying, ‘We have a big hill to climb.’”

Jeudy added a 22-yard strike from quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second quarter and finished the game with three receptions for 136 yards and the two scores.

He was targeted only one other time, but Alabama didn’t need to do any more during the 62-7 rout.

“Jerry plays in the slot, so when people play man-to-man that chop route that you run is really difficult to defend and he does it extremely well.” Nick Saban said.

“We have four receivers who can make explosive plays. We want to get them involved.”

Thus, the conundrum for defenders. With Alabama having a punishing backfield, a line that could potentially take over a game, numerous receiving options including a dynamic tight end and it was pick your poison. Opt to keep the safeties back and Alabama pounded the ball and swung passes wide for short gains that could turn into big ones, especially with Jeudy and other receivers throwing effective blocks.

The moment the defensive bacs moved up and Tagovailoa could hit anyone behind them.

So the last thing defenses wanted to do was leave Jeudy alone one-on-one with a defender, but they often didn’t have a choice.

“He’s real gifted, real talented,” said defensive back Trevon Diggs, who for that season was Alabama’s “star,” the defensive back who played over the slot in nickel coverage. There weren’t too many teams that had a talent like Diggs in that position — maybe none.

Consequently, no one really did slow him down, or find an answer to his pristine route running. Jeudy went on to win the 2018 Fred Biletnikoff Award as college football’s best receiver, and was a 2020 first-round draft pick.

“He’s explosive. He runs really good routes. He can catch the ball,” linebacker Christian Miller said. “He just makes plays.”

A version of this story was previously posted on BamaCentral 

The Saban Top 100 will be revealed over the course of the 2020 football season, with the top players unveiled one a day as part of BamaCentral's 25 Days of Christmas celebration.

The series thus far:

Read More

Introduction

No. 17: Jalen Hurts

No. 18: Reuben Foster

No. 19: Chance Warmack

No. 20: Mark Barron

No. 21: Jonah Williams

No. 22: Da'Ron Payne

No. 23: Ryan Kelly

No. 24: Landon Collins

No. 25: Cam Robinson

26-30: Terrence Cody, Calvin Ridley, Javier Arenas, Reggie Ragland, Jedrick Wills Jr.

31-35: Dee Milliner, D.J. Fluker, Marlon Humphrey, Rashad Evans, A'Shawn Robinson

36-40: Rashaan Evans, Dre Kirkpatrick, Marcell Dareus, Eddie Jackson, O.J. Howard

41-45: Courtney Upshaw, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Henry Ruggs III, Jarran Reed, Xavier McKinney

46-50: Dalvin Tomlinson, Antoine Caldwell, Kareem Jackson, Cyrus Kouandjio, Trevon Diggs

51-55: Mike Johnson, T.J. Yeldon, Ronnie Harrison, Damien Harris, JK Scott

56-60: Ross Pierschbacher, Eddie Lacy, Bradley Bozeman, Ryan Anderson, Glen Coffee

61-65: Greg McElroy, Josh Jacobs, Anfernee Jennings, James Carpenter, Kenyan Drake

66-70: Terrell Lewis, Blake Sims, Christian Miller, Irv Smith Jr,, Tim Williams

71-75: Mack Wilson, ArDarius Stewart, Deionte Thompson, Raekwon Davis, Jalston Fowler

76-80: Josh Chapman, Cyrus Jones, Kevin Norwood, Isaiah Buggs, Jake Coker

81-85: Bo Scarbrough, Anthony Averett, Leigh Tiffin, Ed Stinson, DeQuan Menzie

86-90: Jesse Williams, Shaun Dion Hamilton, William Vlachos, Da'Shawn Hand, Arie Kouandjio

91-95: Nico Johnson, Wallace Gilberry, DJ Hall, Vinnie Sunseri, Quinton Dial

96-100: Trey DePriest, Damion Square, Christion Jones, John Parker Wilson, Simeon Castille 

16] Jerry Jeudy, WR

  • Won 2018 Fred Biletnikoff Award
  • 2018 Consensus All-American; 2019 All-American
  • 2018-19 All-SEC
  • 15th-overall selection in 2020 NFL Draft
  • His 26 career touchdown receptions were second all-time in Alabama history
  • He’s fourth on the Crimson Tide’s career receiving yards list with 2,742 yards on 159 catches
  • The 17.2 average yards per catch for his career was second behind Ozzie Newsome’s 20.3
  • During his final game was named MVP of the Citrus Bowl after having a career-best 204 receiving yards on six catches against Michigan
  • Had 1,163 receiving yards during his final season, third most in Alabama history, after notching 1,315 the year before when he won the Biletnikoff
  • The 19.3 yards per catch in 2018 set a Crimson Tide single-season record (minimum 50 catches), surpassing the previous total of 17.0 by DJ Hall in 2006
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