HOOVER, Ala. — Alabama junior wide receiver Jerry Jeudy had nothing but love for his quarterback and fellow wideouts at the SEC Media Days on Wednesday.
They call themselves "The Rideouts."
“We have a great bond,” Jeudy said. “We all compete against each other. With those guys, you gotta make your opportunity count. With those guys, you don’t know when it’s going to be your last time touching the ball, because with them, they could take it to the house any time. They could take it over the top, take a 90-yard touchdown pass, screen, it doesn’t matter.
“You take advantage of every opportunity you get.”
Jeudy was awarded the Belitnikoff Award last season, which is given to the nation’s best wide receiver. Along with returners Henry Ruggs III, Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith, Alabama possesses what could be the best receiving corps in the country.
Despite all of the attention that they get, Jeudy insists they don’t let it get to their heads. They won't let each other.
“I feel like we all get the same amount of attention just because we’re the best receiving corps in the nation," he said. "Me, Henry Ruggs, Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith. When they’re talking about the Alabama receiving corps they’re talking about all four of us, and we got another group of guys that’s good too that y’all ain’t heard about but y’all will soon.”
Complimenting each of his fellow receivers, Jeudy spent some extra time on Ruggs, a fellow junior.
“He brings speed, explosiveness, leadership,” Jeudy said. “He’s just a great competitor. He motivates me to become a better player, and I motivate him to become a better player. Having a teammate like that that motivates you to be the best player you can be is wonderful.”
One point that Jeudy emphasized is the strong bond that the receivers have both on and off the field. The collective goal is to make each better.
Jeudy said that their bond as a unit grows and the group benefits as a whole through competition.
“We got a lot of guys on the receiving corps that love to compete,” Jeudy said. “When you have that competitive mindset to go out there and try and be a better pick and dominate every time, if you keep that mindset going through your whole career, you can be somebody very special.
“I say we do that most every day just to prove who’s the best. Not to dominate each other, but just to motivate each other to get better.”
It isn't just talk, either, as junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has regularly called the group unselfish. To give an example he mentioned what they refer to as ‘brotherhood routes,’ specifically designed to get someone else open.
“You got to be unselfish,” Jeudy said. “I think that’s why we’re so good. It’s because of how unselfish we are. If one person makes a play, that’s like us making a play. One person makes a play that’s like giving us energy to go out there and make a play, too.”
With the combination of Tagovailoa and Jeudy, along with the rest of the receiving corps, SEC defenses will need to work overtime to prepare for the Crimson Tide’s passing attack in 2019.
Last season, Tagovailoa finished the season with 3,966 yards, 43 touchdowns and only six interceptions. Jeudy accounted for 1,315 yards, with 68 catches and 14 touchdowns.
The benefit of having the Heisman Trophy runner-up throwing to him is not lost to Jeudy.
“His leadership, he’s competitiveness, his toughness, it’s a lot,” Jeudy said. “He’s just great person overall, not only on the field but off the field. He’s just a great person, great player, and he knows how to win at football.
“I think he’s been more of a leader, more active, just taking advantage of being a leader, just telling you the right thing to do, motivating us, keeping us encouraged to go out there and to compete every day and to better ourselves to help the team be a better program.”
When Clemson defeated Alabama in the National Championship in January, Jeudy still led the team with five receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown.
However, the numbers were not good enough for Jeudy.
While he regards the end of last season as disappointing, Jeudy said that he and his teammates will not be satisfied until they win another College Football Playoff.
“They had a good game,” Jeudy said about the Tigers. “They’re a great team. We didn’t finish how we wanted to, but that’s last year. We focus on our upcoming season, so to get where we were at last year, but finish even stronger.
“We didn’t execute properly like we were supposed to, and Clemson took advantage of every opportunity they had to do so.”
Jeudy added that he's since come across replays of the game on television. While the feeling of the loss still stings, it's motivating him and his fellow receivers moving forward.
“It was really tough, losing that game,” Jeudy said. “So what? Now what? We lost last year. Now what are we going to do about it to get to where we go and finish stronger than we did last year? It hurt me for a while. Just seeing it back on TV. The TV just recreates that feeling. It hurts, but it’s a new season.
“I’m focused on this season.”
And the Rideouts fly again.