Alabama Football News

Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle shines in his return to Texas versus Aggies

Erich Schlegel - USA TODAY Sports

It was going to happen at some point, but it felt good for it to occur in Texas. 

Whether he is being interviewed or interacting with teammates, nothing  frustrates Jaylen Waddle. 

The sophomore is one of college football’s most electrifying wide receivers; however, a healthy DeVonta Smith was the reason for Waddle’s drop in production through Alabama’s first five games.

After a dynamic freshman campaign – 848 yards, eight touchdowns – some were concerned about his lack of scores, but he never complained. 

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Prior to last week’s game versus Texas A&M, Smith told reporters on how much he respects Waddle’s attitude.

While it seemed as though Tua Tagovailoa was not feeling No. 17, the native Texan found ways to still be impactful. He has become a much better blocker in the running game and on short passes. Regardless of Alabama’s punt return squad falling victim to the bitter “block in the back” each week, Waddle remains a threat no matter where he is on the field. 

For the first time since last year’s Southeastern Conference title game, he got his meeting with the end zone at Kyle Field.

Steve Sarkisian, the Tide’s offensive coordinator, drew up a scoring play on the team’s first possession of the game.

Tagovailoa flipped the ball to Waddle and like he’s done for his teammates, Smith got the block to spring him for a 31-yard touchdown. The score capped off a performance of three catches for 48 yards; nevertheless, it was his performance on special teams that bothered Aggie specialist, Braden Mann and helped Alabama’s offense. Waddle returned four punts for 128 yards – including a pair of runs that exceeded 40 yards.

The 5-foot-10, 182-pound speedster set up touchdown drives on all his returns as he provided the Tide with a short field.

Despite the efforts of Mann driving attempts deep into Alabama’s territory, Waddle won the field position game with positive yardage. 

His feel for the ball, vision, speed and athleticism navigated him into Aggie territory. 

Waddle averaged 32 yards per return and should be looked at for both Offensive and Special Teams Player of the Week from the Tide’s coaching staff. He played a major role in the team earning a 47-28 win and improving to 6-0 on the season.  

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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