It’s been a miserable season for the Alabama receiving corps.
ArDarius Stewart leads the team with 45 targets, but has hauled in less than half (22 receptions) and dropped five.
But Calvin Ridley is quickly taking over as Jake Coker’s go-to receiver in recent weeks and making the most of his opportunity.
Through the first three weeks of the season, Stewart led the team with 32 targets, followed by 21 for Richard Mullaney and 17 for Ridley. In the three games since that Week 3 loss to Ole Miss, Ridley leads the team with 21 targets followed by Stewart with 12.
The main reason for Ridley developing into the go-to weapon seems to be his ability to win at every level in the passing game.
While Ridley does most of his damage within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, he has hauled in five of his nine targets at the intermediate level and has three receptions on 10 targets on deep passes.
There are two areas where Ridley needs to improve, however.
Most importantly, Ridley needs to cut down on the drops. Excluding passes thrown behind the line of scrimmage, Ridley has 16 catches and four drops, a disappointing 20 percent drop rate.
Ridley is also struggling with contested catches, an area a 6’1″ receiver would typically be expected to excel.
In 11 contested catch situations, Ridley has hauled in just one reception.
Despite the areas of concern, Ridley is making a strong impression. He’s a freshman taking on the role of Amari Cooper, one of the most celebrated receivers in school history. The future is certainly bright for Ridley at Alabama.