Alabama Crimson Tide receivers Slade Bolden, John Metchie III to enter NFL draft; three defensive starters to return

Alabama wide receivers Slade Bolden and John Metchie III will enter the NFL Draft, while linebacker Henry To’o To’o, defensive lineman DJ Dale and safety Jordan Battle return to the team for their senior seasons.

Bolden, To’o To’o and Dale announced their intentions on social media on Friday. Sources told ESPN’s Chris Low of Metchie and Battle’s decisions.

Metchie led the Tide with 96 catches this season for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns before tearing his ACL in the SEC Championship Game win over Georgia on Dec. 4. He is ranked the eighth-best draft-eligible receiver over Mel Kiper Jr.

Bolden was fourth on the team in receiving yards with 408 and had three receiving touchdowns. He and Metchie are part of a receiving corps that will lose at least four of its top five receivers.

Jameson Williams, who led the team with 1,572 yards, Metchie, Bolden and running back Brian Robinson Jr. all left for the NFL.

To’o To’o transferred to Alabama from Tennessee ahead of the 2021 season. He was the 47th recruit in the class of 2019 and signed with the De La Salle High School Vols in Concord, California.

“I loved my experience last season, but things didn’t end the way we wanted,” To’o To’o said on social media. “We haven’t reached our ultimate goal, and I can’t leave my brothers knowing now that we have unfinished business to attend to. Let’s get to work in 2022.”

He was second on the Tennessee team in total tackles in his first season with 72, as well as five tackles for loss and three quarterbacks rushing. He then led the team in tackles during the 2020 season, accounting for 76 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 1 interception and 2 quarterback rushes.

He made an immediate impact at Alabama, earning a starting linebacker position and tallying 112 total tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. He won the All-SEC second team and is now returning to a linebacking unit that has important returning players, including Will Anderson Jr. and true freshman Dallas Turner.

Dale had 18 tackles, including four for a loss last season. Battle was fourth on the Alabama team in tackles (84) this season and also had three interceptions.

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