Canadian receiver John Metchie III has fast-tracked his recovery from a major knee injury.
Metchie III tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the second quarter of the 2021 SEC Championship Game against the University of Georgia on December 4. Despite the setback, the 21-year-old decided to forego his senior season at the University of Alabama and enter the 2022 NFL Draft.
“Around June I should be cleared and ready to go — no restrictions. Just ready to play football and run some routes,” Metchie III said while at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Prior to suffering the ACL tear, the six-foot, 195-pound pass catcher recorded 96 receptions for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns in 13 games during his junior season with the Crimson Tide. Metchie III doesn’t believe NFL teams feel the knee injury affects his stock and how high he might go in the draft.
“I don’t really sense much concern from my injury. Everything checks off, everything’s going well, rehab’s going well — [teams] looking at my knee is going well,” Metchie III said.
“The ACL injury is just a matter of where you take him, but I don’t think his game was really ever built on speed. I would guess with the injury he might go in the third, fourth round. It would be a heck of a pick for somebody,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said.
Metchie III burst onto the scene in 2020 as a key component of an Alabama receiving corps that featured two first round draft picks, including Heisman winner DeVonta Smith and sixth overall selection, Jaylen Waddle. He caught 55 passes for 916 yards and six touchdowns that year, becoming the first Canadian in 17 years to win an NCAA national title.
“Metchie III is going to be a great value pick in this draft. He is a ready-made slot, he is really, really a crisp route runner, he’s tough and he’s strong,” Jeremiah said.
During 30 games at Alabama under head coach Nick Saban, Metchie III produced 155 catches for 2,081 yards with 14 touchdowns while averaging 13.4 yards per catch. Since he became a full-time starter in 2020, the Brampton native led all receivers at Power Five schools with 1,000 yards after the catch and last year he led the Southeastern Conference with 33 catches against single coverage.
“I definitely think my speed is underrated, but I guess it’s just another thing I have to prove to everybody,” Metchie III said. “I want to inspire the tremendous amount of talent of kids in Canada in all sports and football.”