When Slade Bolden first arrived at Alabama on an official visit, his host was QB Mac Jones. So now that the receiver is expected to get more playing time following the season-ending injury to Jaylen Waddle, he can lean on that long-term relationship.

In the months and years since, Bolden became a throwing partner for Jones and he said it helped both of them improve. Now the 5-foot-11 and 191 pound redshirt sophomore will have a brighter spotlight on him as he fills in for the departed Waddle.

“It’s hard seeing JW go down, he’s one of my good teammates and friends,” Bolden said, per Bama Insider. “It’s always tough. This is not the way I want to get this opportunity.”

Bolden, who primarily saw action this season on special teams before the Tennessee game, had six catches for 94 yards in Knoxville.

Bolden admitted that he’s heard the comparisons with NFL slot receiver Julian Edelman, and he considers it a compliment, but he’s just trying to be the best player he can be.

“The best way I can describe my game is that I’m not going to be the fastest guy on the field, but I’ve got a lot of heart, a lot determination,” he said. “I’m going to get open to make plays and I will catch the ball if it’s around me.”

He leaned on coach Nick Saban’s coaching to be prepared for any situation, especially if a teammate goes down like Waddle on Saturday.

“Coach preaches every day for every player to always be prepared. Film prep, practice prep, you never know when your number is going to be called. Just going into a game like that, here I am, just going to do my job, that’s all I did and that’s how each and every player has to have the mindset to be.”