If UA played today: 7 Kenny Bell (Jr.); 22 Christion Jones (So.); 83 Kevin Norwood (Jr.); 9 Amari Cooper (Fr.); 2 DeAndrew White (So.); 5 Chris Black (Fr.); 80 Marvin Shinn (rFr.); 81 Danny Woodson, Jr. (rFr.); 24 Nathan McAlister (Sr.).
Of Christion Jones' 15 scrimmage receptions, five went for touchdowns.
The big question
What we asked in February: "Will Duron Carter prove to be a dependable option? Since leaving Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.)-St. Thomas Aquinas in 2009, Carter has struggled to stay on the field. There was a brief stint at Ohio State, where he caught 13 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown as a true freshman, followed by a layover at Coffeyville Community College. After falling short of eligibility requirements last fall, the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder spent the 2011 season on the scout team. Ability has never been the question where Carter is concerned. Now we'll find out if he's capable of putting forth the kind of focus required to excel in an elite program.” – Spring Sneak Peek: Wide receiver, February 21, 2012.
What we think now: Cris Carter attended more spring workouts than Duron Carter. Unfortunately, neither was eligible to practice. Given the emergence of young receivers like Jones, Cooper and Black to go along with veterans Bell and Norwood, Duron Carter's extended absence went largely unnoticed (on the field, at least). Bottom line: It would be nice to have Carter in the rotation, but his availability isn't a make or break situation for the passing game.
Time to make a move
The pick in February: “The quartet of Norwood, Bell, White and Jones, who combined to catch 39 passes for 645 yards in 2011, are on the clock. Next up are Shinn and Woodson, a pair of redshirt freshman who will look to establish themselves as legitimate rotation candidates in the spring.”
What we think now: Norwood, Bell and and Jones made up the top three receivers by the time A-Day rolled around. The trio combined to catch 12 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns in the final scrimmage of spring drills. True freshmen Cooper and Black wasted no time making their presence felt in the rotation, leading one to wonder what this group will look like when Eddie Williams and Cyrus Jones join the mix later this month.
Best of the bunch
The pick in February: “On the game's biggest stage, Norwood produced four receptions for 78 yards while working almost exclusively against LSU all-america cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. In going over the Honey Badger to make highlight grabs on multiple occasions, Norwood provided a glimpse of what he can do when healthy. Nearly half of Norwood's 2011 production (11 receptions, 190 yards) came in the BCS national championship game.”
What we think now: Norwood took home the Ray Perkins Receiver Award, which annually honors the Crimson Tide's top receiver at the close of spring drills. In three spring scrimmages, the junior hauled in 12 passes for 157 yards. Meanwhile, Jones was the Crimson Tide's most dynamic receiver in the spring, as the sophomore caught 15 passes for 192 yards and five touchdowns in three scrimmages.
Remember those lacking touchdown reception and yards per catch totals for UA wide receivers last season? Between the speed this group will provide on the outside and Jones' ability to torch corners and safeties alike from the slot, explosive plays in the passing game shouldn't be as much of a problem for the position in 2012.
Don't be shocked if
The pick in February; “He's not as physically imposing as Eddie Williams, but Cooper looks to be as SEC ready as any wide receiver Alabama has signed since 2008. Kids from Dade County typically aren't overwhelmed by the step up in competition, so toughness shouldn't be an issue for Cooper.”
What we think now: With Cooper looking more and more like an impact player during his first season on campus, a veteran vs. freshman position battle at the Z receiver spot between Norwood and Cooper could be in the offing for fall camp.
Probability of a true freshman contributing at wide receiver in 2012: High.
Spring grade: B.