Jaylen Waddle is a game-time decision for Alabama, per head coach Nick Saban.
After missing the second half of the 2020 college football season due to a broken ankle, Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle has returned to practice ahead of the Crimson Tide’s national title bout against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Waddle’s head coach Nick Saban offered a bit of insight as to how his star receiver is recovering from what was thought to be a season-ending injury vs. the cross-divisional rival Tennessee Volunteers in the Third Saturday in October. “He’s been able to practice some. His status for the game is still relatively up in the air and will probably be a game-time decision,” Saban said.
When asked how Waddle has looked in practice since returning to the field on Tuesday, here is what Saban had to say about that.
“I don’t have any crystal ball to know. The issue with injuries is when a guy does practice, how does he respond to the workload? Sometimes if a guy practices one day and gets sore the next, you can’t practice him the next day so you keep trying to build up his workload to where he can play.
“That’s a work in progress right now so you can’t really predict where that’s going to be. This is something we’re trying to evaluate but not anything we can try to make a prediction on at this moment.”
What does a Jaylen Waddle return mean for the Alabama offense?
Even though Alabama had two Heisman Trophy finalists, including 2020 winner in fellow wide receiver DeVonta Smith, Waddle offers something the rest of his Crimson Tide teammates cannot. Waddle is a gifted return man and is absolutely dynamic once the ball is in his hands. He is capable of taking a slant route from quarterback Mac Jones to the house from anywhere on the field.
What his return also means is that it will take some pressure off Smith, John Metchie and the rest of the Alabama receiving corps. He gives Jones another target to rifle the pigskin to, as well as another weapon to make game planning against bell-cow back Najee Harris all the more difficult. In short, Waddle’s return may be too much for the Ohio State defense to reasonably control.
He may not play a ton Monday, but look for Waddle to do his best to give it a go one last time.