Jaylen Waddle picks up where he left off as a dynamic playmaker versus Missouri
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He was the human joystick as a freshman and an electrifying return man last season, but Jaylen Waddle opened the 2020 campaign for Alabama football as an absolute baller at wide receiver.
The 5-foot-10, 182-pounder had the attention of every NFL scout on Saturday and he put on a clinic.
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A native of Houston, Texas, the junior started this season with his first 100-yard performance versus the Missouri Tigers during a 38-19 victory for the Crimson Tide on the road. Not only did he equal his total of 100-yard games from 2019 (one), but Steve Sarkisian got him the ball naturally. Alabama put Waddle in motion, lined him up in the slot, and positioned him outside.
All the chemistry he and Mac Jones had in last year’s Iron Bowl resurfaced against Missouri’s secondary.
Regardless of his exceptional speed, Waddle had some impressive route concepts. He caught eight passes (10 targets) for a team-high 134 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Along with averaging 16.8 yards per catch, six of his eight receptions went for either first downs or touchdowns.
Both of his scores came on third down and he even elevated between two defenders to record a massive, 46-yard catch from Jones.
For Waddle, his eight catches against the Tigers were more than what he had in a single-game last season. He totaled five receptions apiece in matchups versus Duke and Arkansas in 2019.
Despite eight catches from his counterpart, DeVonta Smith, it was Waddle that stole the show. He impressed NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay and this is just the beginning.
So many people look at Ja’Marr Chase (LSU) among others as top receivers for the 2021 NFL Draft; however, more attention needs to be given to Waddle. He will now carry this momentum into Alabama’s home opener against Texas A&M next week.
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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.