ATLANTA — Alabama quarterback Bryce Young has known who Jermaine Burton was prior to his departure from Georgia and arrival at Alabama.
The now Crimson Tide wide receiver played his last two seasons of high school football in California, where he and the Heisman Trophy winner crossed paths in the prep football scene. Both went to the SEC, with Burton and Young signing as members of the 2020 recruiting class.
The two met on the field twice in the 2021 season, with Alabama and Young winning the first time. But Burton and the Bulldogs came back and won the rematch in Indianapolis. In the win, Burton caught two passes for 28 yards and drew a pass interference penalty as well.
“Jermaine is really cool to work with.” Young said of Burton. “Really good work ethic, super cool to work with. You can see how hard he is working to do what he came here to do and contribute. I’m excited for him. We’ve put a lot of time in, a lot of work and he’s only going to improve.”
Burton though wouldn’t stick around long after the Georgia championship parade. Not even two weeks after the win over Alabama, Burton entered the transfer portal and ultimately ended up landing with Alabama. Given the success the Crimson Tide had with transfer wide receiver Jameson Williams in 2021, it’s understandable why Burton would see the appeal. Williams caught 79 passes for 1,572 and 15 touchdowns for the Crimson Tide last season and ultimately was taken in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Burton caught only 26 passes for Georgia last season for 497 yards and five touchdowns.
Related: What transfer decision of Jermaine Burton really says about Georgia football wide receiver room
Alabama turned to quite a few transfers on the offensive side of the ball this offseason, bringing in Georgia Tech running back Jahmyr Gibbs and Louisville wide receiver Tyler Harrell.
For all the talent on Alabama’s roster — Young and teammate Will Anderson might be the two best players in college football — the skill positions were one of the bigger areas of concern when Alabama coach Nick Saban spoke about his team on Tuesday morning.
“It will be a challenge for us to replace the skill players lost, two great receivers on our team last year,” Saban said. “Bryce Young is a great player, a great leader, a great quarterback obviously. But quarterback is also a position that may be one of the most difficult positions in all of sports to play if you’re not surrounded by good people.
“So the challenge for us is to make sure we do an outstanding job of developing the players around him so that we can continue to be a very productive offensive team.”
Related: Nick Saban praises Jermaine Burton, Georgia fans should understand why
Young spoke highly of his chemistry with Burton, who enrolled at Alabama shortly after leaving Georgia to participate in spring drills. The two have bonded over their similar goals, with Young being partially impressed with Burton’s work ethic.
The Alabama quarterback already has a Heisman Trophy under his belt to go along with last year’s SEC championship. But he wants what Burton has, a national championship. Young sheepishly mentioned that Burton hasn’t hesitated to mention the Georgia win at various points this offseason.
“Every once in a while it (the National Championship game) has definitely come up but he is with us now,” Young said.