April 24, 2024

Devy Digest: Freshman Profile Jalen Hale

4 min read
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Alabama Crimson Tide

Jalen Hale
6'1" 189lbs
Position: Wide Receiver
High School: Longview (Texas)

Who is Jalen Hale?

Hale was a high 4 star in the composites, who was a three sport athlete where he also played basketball and track and field. He is an above average route runner with good speed and does well after the catch. Hale can create on his own, and tracks the ball well. He is someone who understands the game and finds a way to comeback and get open for his Quarterback when the play breaks down. As a Senior on the football field he hauled in 45 receptions for just over 900 yards and 14 touchdowns, with 2 additional touchdowns on the ground. An accolade that is worth noting is that he was the first true Freshman at Longview to play at varsity level in 15 years. Hale held offers from Texas A&M, Texas, Georgia and other power 5 schools, before choosing Alabama.

Pathway to Success

Coming into the season, it was hard to see Hale making an immediate impact for various reasons that included Alabama rewarding seniority and typically Freshman have to wait their turn to get playing time. Another issue was Alabama had similar type players on the roster. With Long wiry, speed threat guys such as Isaiah Bond and Malik Benson, it appeared he would be at best, 6th in the pecking order. The season hasn't unfolded the way Alabama would have expected. The two top receivers have underwhelmed. Jermaine Burton continues to put up one solid play a game, but doesn't get the target demand to warrant being the alpha in the room. Ja'Corey Brooks has disappeared in games and was last seen on punt coverage. Isaiah Bond had drop issues last year but has seemed to fix that issue, but suffers from inconsistent play. The hyped player was Malik Benson, but he hasn't been able to earn playing time and has not made an impact. Kendrick Law is the gadget type player and Kobe Prentice is more of a depth receiver who has done a nice job. However, none of these guys have stood out and that has led to playing time for Jalen Hale. He played 27% of snaps against Ole Miss and made the most of it with a stat line of 2-63-1. It's worth noting due to how subpar the room has been. He seems to be earning the trust of the coaching staff as the Ole Miss game was an important game for Alabama coming off a struggling performance against USF. He should continue to earn more playing time and as a true Freshman, that is all you can ask for. He showed the SEC play wasn't too big for him and looked good with his opportunities.

Improvements/Concerns

Hale, as it normally is with most true Freshman, will need to improve on play strength and be a willing blocker in the run game. The wide receiver room is a deep, shallow pond right now...too many guys with no true pecking order. There is always a concern that he will make a mistake and fall into the dog house. Quarterback play is another concern, it appears they are stuck with Jalen Milroe for the year and next year, if they don't grab anyone from the portal, they have an incoming freshman that is highly touted, Julian Sayin. Either way, the QB play will need to improve.

Freshman Outlook

Hale got to see playing time and he made the most of it.  He showed good speed and got open for Jalen Milroe. Without a true standout in the receiving room, Hale has the chance to become an integral part of this team. While the schedule gets tougher, if the Ole Miss game was any indication, we could see more of Hale down the stretch. If he continues to make plays, he could force his way to be the alpha of this receiving room next year.

Devy Value

Up until the Ole Miss game, it wasn't looking great. This is a great time to sell and buy. If you don't believe in the situation, you can sell him off the fact that he made a couple of good plays and the rest of the receiving room has struggled. Or you can buy if you believe in what you saw against Ole Miss and bank on him gaining traction with this coaching staff and earning more opportunities.  I like the player, but don't enjoy the situation. For the right price, he would be worth either situation.

NFL Value

Hale is an above average route runner with good speed and a program that gets players into the NFL. He'll have to produce, which, the Alabama receiving room has not done in a couple of years. It's too murky to say right now but if he blossoms into the Alabama WR1, he can earn good draft capital.

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