Observations: Alabama has faith in Slade Bolden

If Mac Jones is looking for someone to throw with, his best bet is usually Slade Bolden. Whether it’s midnight or 6 in the morning, the Alabama quarterback knows he can rely on the receiver.

Those throwing sessions might be a bit more frequent in the coming weeks.

Following Jaylen Waddle’s injury last week, Bolden is now set to step in as Alabama’s third starting receiver alongside DeVonta Smith and John Metchie III. If Saturday’s trial run is any indication, the Tide has nothing to worry about.

Making his first career start against Tennessee, Bolden pulled in a career-high six catches for 94 yards while helping Alabama cruise to a 48-17 victory. While the redshirt sophomore doesn’t pack quite the same dynamism as Waddle, he can still hold his own in open space.

Bolden was named Gatorade Player of the Year in Louisiana during his senior season of high school as he passed for 1,622 yards and 20 touchdowns while rushing for 1,460 yards and 20 more scores as a quarterback. The 5-foot-11, 191-pounder has served in multiple roles during his time with Alabama but will likely be primarily taking over for Waddle in the slot.

“Slade’s really quick,” Nick Saban said. “A lot of guys like Slade become very effective slot kind of players because they’re quick out of a break. They’ve got good initial quickness. Really good hands. Very smart and heady in terms of their instincts and their ability to make quick decisions. That’s something that fit well for him.”

Added Jones: “He’s a guy who knows what to do. He knows where to line up. He’s played a lot of different positions. Shoot, he’s even played defense before in the spring practices before. The guy knows a lot about football. If you go and watch his high school highlights, I always like watching his highlights because it gets me pretty fired up. He’s making plays. So when you have somebody that can make plays like that and put him wherever you want on the field, he’s super versatile.”

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