His bond with quarterback Bryce Young is getting stronger by the day. His crowning moment in college football is solidly in the rearview mirror. His focus on working toward a new crowning moment is solidified.
That’s a snapshot of what University of Alabama wide receiver Jermaine Burton is going through as he prepares for his third season in college football.
Burton spent his first two college seasons at the University of Georgia. His two-year receiving totals were 53 catches for 901 yards with eight touchdowns. Alabama fans don’t need to be reminded about the crowning moment.
His reception from his teammates was warm when Burton went from Athens, Georgia, to the transfer portal to Tuscaloosa in time to begin the spring semester.
“This team brought me in with unbelievable arms and welcomed me,” said Burton, who had two catches for 28 yards in the national championship game win over Alabama. “We didn’t have any issue about that. I honestly got more congratulated than anything. The guys brought me, wanted me to work with them. I honestly forgot about that game. I want to win with this team.”
His relationship with Young began when both were Southern California high school players. Burton played at Calabasas High under former USC and NFL linebacker Chris Claiborne. Young was a standout at Mater Dei High in Santa Ana. The bond grew stronger this spring.
“My relationship with Bryce is great,” Burton said. “Pretty much when I came in here, it just clicked. We just both wanted the best for each other. He wanted me to learn the offense as quick as possible.”
Burton, who has been praised by Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban for his consistency, has settled into a receiver corps that is putting the pieces together after losing the bulk of the 2021 production.
Saban was asked specifically about the young receivers after Saturday’s scrimmage. He singled out Calera’s Kobe Prentice, who he said had five catches in the scrimmage, but added that other receivers had shown out in daily practices.
“Probably, each and every day, there is a guy that shows that they have some ability to do things in a really positive way,” Saban said. “I think if I was going to evaluate the group, I would say we all need to play with more consistency.”
Ja’Corey Brooks, who caught the game-tying touchdown in the final seconds of the Iron Bowl win, and Traeshon Holden are the most experienced receivers returning from last year. JoJo Earle was expected to play an important role but is out for several weeks with an injury. Burton is in the mix, as is Louisville transfer Tyler Harrell, who averaged 29.1 yards per catch last season. Mix in some talented freshmen and the pieces appear to be there.
Burton said the key is having all the receivers work together.
“Our room has jelled together because we, honestly, don’t worry about the competition part,” Burton said. “Our competition is the man lined up across from us. We just know we need to learn the offense and learn everything about the offense. I don’t feel like there’s any competition between us as receivers. We’re all close, we’re all brothers at the end of the day. We all want [what's] best for each other.”
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