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Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy silences doubters with MVP showing in Vrbo Citrus Bowl

By Joseph Salvador, Florida Citrus Sports

ORLANDO, Fla. — A lot of people said he shouldn’t play.

A spot in the first round of the NFL Draft is virtually guaranteed to Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy — even though he hasn’t officially declared — and there’s no reason to play in a game that wasn’t the College Football Playoffs.

Or so the argument went.

Except Jeudy, the 2018 Biletnikoff Award-winner, wasn’t on board.

“I played football all my life, so I couldn’t just sit out there and watch my team play and my brothers be out there,” Jeudy said after an MVP performance in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl on Wednesday. “I just wanted to go to war with my brothers.”

Jeudy’s presence and NFL-ready speed played a major factor in No. 13 Alabama’s 35-16 win over No. 14 Michigan, and it only took 13 seconds.

On the Tide’s first offensive play of the game, Alabama quarterback Mac Jones dropped back and heaved a bomb from within his own 10-yard line. Jeudy caught it in stride and took it to the end zone for an 85-yard touchdown — leaving Michigan’s Anfernee Jennings in his wake.

“It was just the perfect look,” Jones said.

The opening score caused an eruption from the red-speckled sections of Camping World Stadium. But Jeudy was far from done. The Deerfield Beach, Fla., native wasn’t leaving his home state or the University of Alabama without one more big play.

With Alabama up 21-16 and 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Jeudy impressed every NFL scout in attendance with a 58-yard catch-and-gallup. The explosive play helped set up tight end Miller Forristall for a 20-yard reception and touchdown the very next snap. That was the fatal blow for Michigan.

Jeudy would finish the game with 204 yards and a touchdown on just six catches. He could have reached the all-time bowl record of 242 yards if the Tide really needed it.

“It’s really a team effort,” Jeudy said. “I just did what I had to do when my name was called.”

The perfect answer after a perfect game.

Often, at this time of year, college standouts like Jeudy announce whether or not they will play in their team’s bowl game. These athletes were just taking classes in college a few weeks prior and are now maybe making the biggest decision of their lives — weighing the prospect of millions of dollars against staying in school. They are often criticized for whatever choice they make.

Jeudy would have been a high pick whether he played or not, but a lot of scouts surely took note of how he answered when he was called upon.

And maybe for that reason he’ll be called upon even sooner whenever draft day finally comes.

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