Alabama's Jerry Jeudy seeks second straight Biletnikoff Award

Alabama's Jerry Jeudy seeks second straight Biletnikoff Award

July 20th, 2019 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Alabama's Jerry Jeudy racked up 1,315 receiving yards and averaged 19.3 yards a catch on his way to winning last season's Biletnikoff Award.

Photo by Kent Gidley/Alabama

ALABAMA

Last season: 14-1 (8-0 SEC)

2019 opener: Aug. 31 vs. Duke in Atlanta (3:30 p.m.; ABC)

Fun fact: Alabama has won its most recent game against every Southeastern Conference opponent except South Carolina, which hosts the Crimson Tide on Sept. 14.

Coming Monday: Arkansas

Jerry Jeudy isn't the first recipient of the Biletnikoff Award in Alabama football history.

He's just the first Crimson Tide player who has a chance to repeat as the winner.

The 6-foot-1, 192-pound junior from Deerfield Beach, Florida, was tabbed as the nation's top receiver last season after amassing 68 catches for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns as part of a team that won its first 14 contests before succumbing to Clemson in the national championship game. His average reception of 19.3 yards set an Alabama single-season record, and he is confident a second Biletnikoff Award can be added to his collection.

"I think I'm the best receiver in the nation, but I think that's how everybody is supposed to feel," Jeudy said last week at SEC Media Days.

The only two-time Biletnikoff winners have been Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree (2007-08) and Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon (2010-11). Amari Cooper was Alabama's first Biletnikoff winner in 2014, when he was a junior and then bypassed his senior season for the NFL.

Jeudy already has been pegged as a top-10 selection in the 2020 NFL draft by CBS, Sports Illustrated and other outlets.

"None of that stuff matters if I don't have a great year this year," Jeudy said, "so I'm focusing on being the best player and the best teammate that I can be. I am so addicted to football that it is the only thing I love doing.

"I either watch film, train or watch highlights."

A top-25 national prospect in the 2017 signing class, Jeudy enrolled early in Tuscaloosa and had plenty of success as a freshman with 14 catches for 264 yards and two touchdowns. His scores occurred in a win at Vanderbilt and a loss at Auburn, with his biggest reception as a freshman a 20-yarder that helped the Tide pull even with Georgia in the fourth quarter of their 26-23 overtime triumph for the national title.

Jeudy had five 100-yard receiving games last season and 23 catches that covered at least 20 yards. He had a career-high 136 yards in the 62-7 throttling of Ole Miss in Oxford and tallied a career-high eight catches (for 103 yards) in the 29-0 blanking of LSU in Baton Rouge.

"It was a great season," Jeudy said. "We had a great start, and it was an amazing feeling to win that award. It was something I had dreamed of, and it was nice to see all the hard work pay off. If it wasn't for having great teammates and a great receiving corps, I would have never won it."

Said Alabama coach Nick Saban: "He's an outstanding receiver and certainly a guy who has made a lot of big plays for us."

Jeudy arrived in 2017 with Henry Ruggs III and DeVonta Smith, with Jaylen Waddle joining the receiver mix last season. All four averaged at least 16 yards a catch last year, when Alabama's receivers looked like the nation's best all season until they met their match against Clemson.

"We have a great bond," Jeudy said of the Tide quartet. "We're always competing against each other, and you've got to make your opportunities count, because if one of us gets hot in a game, you never know when you will get to touch it again.

"We can all take it to the house at any time."

Jeudy has the familiarity of returning quarterback Tua Tagovailoa — "He's gotten a little skinnier, in my opinion, and he keeps working to be a better player," Jeudy said — but is working under a new offensive coordinator.

Steve Sarkisian called Alabama's plays in the 35-31 loss to Clemson in the title game of the 2016 season but left for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, where he spent the past two seasons. Sarkisian and receivers coach Holmon Wiggins are among the seven new assistants on this year's Alabama staff.

"I think we can take advantage of that, because we can always learn something new," Jeudy said. "Coach Sarkisian is bringing some stuff from the Atlanta Falcons, but he hasn't changed much, really.

"Everything is really the same. He's just added a couple of things."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.


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