Analyst: Alabama Position Group Didn’t Live Up to Expectations in 2022

Getty ESPN's Alex Scarborough doesn't believe Alabama's receivers lived up to expectations during the 2022 season

In a piece exploring the non-quarterback groups that will define each Top 25 team’s season, ESPN’s Alex Scarborough was critical of the Alabama receiving corps for their relative underperformance during the 2022 season.

While the Crimson Tide had the 24th most receiving yards (3,660) and 19th most receiving yards per game (281.5), Scarborough noted that it was the team’s multi-skilled NFL-bound running back Jahmyr Gibbs. “Bryce Young wasn’t the reason Alabama’s offense struggled at points last season,” Scarborough prefaced his point by writing. “Sometimes the offensive line let him down. Sometimes the running game went missing in action. And a lot of the time it was the receivers who didn’t live up to expectations.”

Scarborough sees the receiver room as the skill position that needs to see the most growth in supporting the Crimson Tide’s new quarterback. “With Young gone and a new quarterback getting ready to take the reins, it’s the receivers who need to show the most growth,” he wrote.

Analyst on Why Alabama Receiving Corps Underwhelmed in 2022

The criticism from Scarborough was supported by some solid evidence that Alabama’s receiving corps had the talent but ultimately ended up underwhelming during the 2022 season — a season in which the Crimson Tide were a handful of big plays away from being undefeated in.

“They can’t fail to create separation, as they did last year,” he wrote. “There’s a reason a running back — Jahmyr Gibbs — led the team in catches. And they can’t drop 25 passes — second most in the SEC.” The ESPN writer noted the returnees, but also the losses, within the receiving rankings. “Jermaine Burton, Ja’Corey Brooks, Isaiah Bond, Kendrick Law and Kobe Prentice are back. But JoJo Earle and Tyler Harrell are gone. Someone needs to step up.”

Tyler Harrell is now with the Texas Longhorns, while JoJo Earle transferred to 2022 College Football Playoff runner-up TCU. Earle will be joined in Fort Worth by fellow Alabama transfers offensive tackle Tommy Brockermeyer and running back Trey Sanders.

CJ Dippre Predicted to Step Up For Alabama Offense in 2023

With the departure of Cameron Latu to the NFL, there is a playmaking void at tight end that Scarborough believes Maryland transfer CJ Dippre could fill for the Crimson Tide during the 2023 season under new offensive coordinator Tommy Rees.

Following his plea for someone to step up in the receiver room, Scarborough suggested Dippre. “Perhaps it will be tight end CJ Dippre, who transferred from Maryland and could figure prominently into new coordinator Tommy Rees’ offense.” Roll Tide Wire’s Stacey Blackwood also believes Dippre has star potential from the jump. “Alabama brings over Maryland tight end transfer C.J. Dippre in one of the most slept-on transfers of the offseason. Dippre is a talented tight end who could quickly make a name for himself in Tuscaloosa,” he said.

Dippre had 30 catches, 314 receiving yards, and three touchdown catches during the 2022 season with Maryland — whose quarterback is Taulia Tagovailoa, the little brother of former Alabama signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa. The Scranton, Pennsylvania native had just three catches for 25 yards in his first season back in 2021.