ATHENS — Georgia transfer Jermaine Burton is off and running at Alabama catching passes from Heisman Trophy quarterback Bryce Young this spring.
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban mentioned Burton after Alabama’s first scrimmage on Saturday, and not surprisingly, there were positive words.
“We dropped some balls, which is something that we need to clean up,” Saban said, per UA transcripts. “Jermaine Burton did a good job today.”
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Let it go
Georgia fans should not begrudge Burton in this day and age of the one-time transfer and NIL inducements.
Alabama has done a better job using its receivers and putting them in the NFL than every other program of late, and Burton can maximize his professional stock in Tuscaloosa.
• The Tide had two first-round receivers picked in the 2020 NFL Draft (Henry Ruggs, 12th; Jerry Jeudy 15th).
• Two more Alabama receivers were picked in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft (Jaylen Waddle, 6th; DeVonta Smith, 10th).
• Tide receiver Jameson Williams (79 catches, 1,572 yards) is projected to be a first-round pick in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft.
• Alabama receiver John Metchie (96 catches, 1,142 yards) is coming off an ACL injury suffered in the SEC title game and is expected to be picked in the second round.
Georgia has not had a receiver drafted in three years, much less any from the Smart Era selected in the first round.
The 2019 NFL Draft saw Mecole Hardman selected in the second round, Riley Ridley picked in the fourth round and Terry Godwin go as a seventh-round pick.
A.J. Green, in 2011, was the last UGA receiver picked in the first round of an NFL draft.
UGA all-time receiving great Terrence Edwards, the only receiver to have more than 1,000 yards receiving in a season, explained Burton’s decision in January when he entered the NCAA portal.
“What bothers me about the whole situation, (some) people want to call him a quitter or selfish,” Edwards said on DawgNation Daily.
“But I challenge everyone, have you ever changed a job to better yourself?”
Edwards said of course receivers want more passes thrown their way.
“At the end of the day, kids still love stats,” Edwards said. “I played the position, I looked at my stats and I still look at them to this day.”
Works both ways
UGA has been on the receiving end of transfers coming to catch passes, too, dating back to 2019 when Smart added tight end Eli Wolf (Tennessee) and receiver Lawrence Cager (Miami) to catch passes from future NFL draft pick Jake Fromm.