Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Who will AJ McCarron throw to in 2012?
By Chris Low
There won’t be many questions at quarterback heading into next season for Alabama, not with the way AJ McCarron played in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game.
Granted, he’ll have a new offensive coordinator in Doug Nussmeier, but McCarron has all the physical tools, and now the experience, to be one of the SEC’s top players in 2012.
The questions will revolve around who he’s going to throw the ball to with Alabama’s top four pass-catchers from a year ago gone.
Kevin Norwood and Kenny Bell will both be juniors next season, and Norwood, in particular, made a strong case in the national championship game that he can be a go-to guy next season. He led the Crimson Tide with 78 receiving yards on four catches and made an acrobatic grab over LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu.
What Alabama was missing this past season was that big, physical receiver who could go over the middle and keep the chains moving on key third-down plays. Obviously, Julio Jones was that guy in the past, and he was also an explosive big-play threat.
It’s premature to think that anybody is ready to fill his shoes, but the wild card next season is Duron Carter. He wasn’t eligible to play this season and redshirted, but wowed more than once in practice with his ability to go get the football. The 6-4, 210-pound Carter figures to make an immediate impact next season as long as there are no more snags with his eligibility. This will undoubtedly be a big spring for him.
Two other guys poised to make big moves next season are DeAndrew White and Christion Jones, both of whom will be sophomores.
White has great speed and quickness, while Jones filled in for Marquis Maze during the championship game on punt returns after Maze was injured and showcased his burst in the open field. The Alabama coaches feel that both White and Jones have big upsides.
This signing class features three highly-rated receiver prospects, and two are already enrolled in school and will go through spring practice Chris Black of Jacksonville, Fla., and Amari Cooper of Miami. Both are ESPNU 150 prospects and ranked among the top seven receiver prospects in the country by ESPN.
The other guy the Alabama coaches can’t wait to get on campus is Eddie Williams of Panama City, Fla. The 6-4, 210-pound Williams is ranked by ESPN as the No. 2 athlete in the country. He could play a number of different positions in college, but it sounds like receiver is where he’ll land at Alabama.
So while nobody is returning on Alabama’s roster that caught more than 17 passes or two touchdowns in 2011, the Crimson Tide aren’t exactly hurting at receiver.
Experience could be an issue, but talent won’t.