HOOVER, Ala. — When you talk to the most successful people in their field, you’ll often hear them speak about the same thing: continuous improvement.
Poet and activist Maya Angelou once famously said “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
It rings home for Alabama junior wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.
Jeudy had a fantastic 2018 season, when he accounted for 68 receptions totaling 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns. His efforts earned him the Biletnikoff Award, the trophy given to the nation’s top receiver.
Naturally, he tops the list of favorites for the Biletnikoff in 2019, but it isn’t something he dwells on much.
“None of that stuff matters until you have a great year this year, so I’m focused on being just the best player I can be and the best teammate I can be to go to a national championship,” Jeudy said. “That’s my main focus.”
Despite being considered one of the nation’s top players at any position, Jeudy didn’t spend any time looking in the rearview mirror at the 2019 SEC Media Days last week.
“We have high expectations for ourselves this year,” Jeudy said. “We had a great season last year, having finished strong, but there’s all those things that we need to improve on to better ourselves, to improve our game, so we can have a better season that we did last year.”
Jeudy reiterated that continuous improvement is fundamentally what he and the wide receiver corps have been focusing on this offseason. Coming into the 2019 season, Jeudy has received a lot of praise and anticipation from both the media and the Crimson Tide faithful.
Jeudy noted that in order to maintain his status as one of the nation’s top wideouts, he limits his access to the outside noise.
“A lot of people say that, but as soon as I have a bad game they’re going to say that I’m the worst receiver in college football,” Jeudy said. “I don’t really focus on what the outsiders think. I think I’m the best receiver in the nation because that’s now everybody is supposed to feel.
“Every receiver should feel like they’re the best receiver in the nation.”
However, Jeudy does acknowledge that the pressure is riding high on he and Alabama offense’s shoulders this year.
Although the line will have to be revamped following a couple of key departures, and the tight position lost both key contributors in 2018, there's a lot of returning and proven talent on that side of the ball.
“It’s a great feeling having high expectations on me, but that’s not something that I really focus on,” Jeudy said. “Once you have a bad season, all that could blow out the window, so I’m just focused on me bettering myself day by day and having a great year and having a better year than I did last year, so I could be a better football player and get my team to the national championship.”
Joining Jeudy are returning starters junior Henry Ruggs III, junior DeVonta Smith, and sophomore Jaylen Waddle. Together, the foursome its widely regarded as likely being the best in college football.
Jeudy had nothing but praise for his fellow receivers, and said that they are some of the best leaders on this year’s team.
“It’s very good to have leaders on the team to help motivate guys instead of the coaches because when you have coaches and the leaders on the team it really motives the team to try to be the best team possible,” Jeudy said.
Regarding what specifics he needs to improve on to improve his game, Jeudy was not short on words regarding what he needed to work on.
“There’s a lot I need to improve on, such as my fundamentals of the game,” Jeudy said. “Little things like that. Knowing how to run certain routes against certain coverages, knowing why I’m running them routes like that, so there’s a lot I need to improve on to better myself as a player.”
“I feel like I’m pretty good, but there’s a lot of great receivers out there.”
Jeudy says that he's up to the challenge.
“Just working day by day. Just working on me day by day. Working on the fundamentals, the details of the game,” Jeudy said. “Stuff like that to better myself as a player.”
When it comes to the toughest upcoming games on the schedule, Jeudy remained focused on the day-to-day with the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.
“The hardest game is the game we play in practice.”