Alabama Crimson Tide receiver Slade Bolden leaps into void left by injured Jaylen Waddle

Alabama Crimson Tide receiver Slade Bolden leaps into void left by injured Jaylen Waddle
Alabama wide receiver Slade Bolden (18) runs the ball as Tennessee defensive back Jaylen McCollough (22) and Tennessee linebacker Henry To'o To'o (11) defend during a game between Alabama and Tennessee at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (contributed)

When Alabama’s most explosive player went down with a season-ending ankle injury on the first play of the Crimson Tide’s game against Tennessee last Saturday, Alabama fans everywhere expressed concern on social media.

While it’s impossible to replace a player like Jaylen Waddle, Slade Bolden filled in nicely against the Vols. The redshirt sophomore receiver hauled in six of seven passes thrown to him for 94 yards.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said Bolden has great quickness, good hands and good instincts.

“He’s one of the guys I really was referring to when I said a lot of guys had to step up,” Saban said.

Alabama Crimson Tide’s Bolden steps into void left by injured Waddle from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

It helps that Bolden is close to quarterback Mac Jones and is always ready to catch for Jones when he needs someone outside of traditional practice times.

“The guy knows a lot about football,” Jones said.

Bolden said he always jumps at the chance to get extra catches from Jones.

“Any time he needed a throwing partner, I was always there and I was always willing to help because not only was it helping him, it was also helping me get better,” Bolden said.

Bolden said he is also close to Waddle and it was good to see him in good spirits after a successful surgery this week.

“This is not the way I wanted to get this opportunity, of course,” Bolden said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity. I’m just here to get better and improve each and every day.”

Alabama wide receiver Slade Bolden (18) makes a catch during a game between Alabama and Tennessee at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (contributed)

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