According to his own head coach, Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey will have his work cut out for him Saturday when the Crimson Tide plays the USC Trojans.
If you let Nick Saban tell it, Trojans wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster is going to give the Alabama secondary problems, comparing him to All-Pro NFL receiver Dez Bryant.
“He’s a fabulous player. Obviously had 89 catches last year, which I think was probably the best in their league. Not only does he play well as a receiver, he’s physical, really a great competitor,” Saban said Wednesday in a teleconference.
Saban continued giving Smith-Schuster praise, saying he’s “a big-time guy. Kind of a Dez Bryant type of receiver, and he’s certainly going to be a challenge for us to guard.”
The Alabama head coach’s comparison of the junior receiver looks to be spot-on in nearly every regard.
Both are listed at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds and consistently dominate the opposition. Smith-Schuster posted 1,454 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns to go along with his 89 receptions. Bryant’s sophomore year at Oklahoma State (his junior season was cut short by injuries) was just as impressive, with 87 catches for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Alabama, known for it’s smothering defense, allowed 17 receiving touchdowns while intercepting 19 passes, tenth most in the country.
The 6-foot-1 Humphrey had three interceptions and 45 tackles in 2015, his freshman season.