WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
HOMETOWN (HIGH SCHOOL): Bellaire, TX (Episcopal)
247 RATING: .9791
POSITION RANK: 5
Receiving: 78 catches, 1,408 yards (18.1 ypc), 13 touchdowns
Receiving: 33 catches, 560 yards (17.0 ypc), 6 touchdowns
Jaylen Waddle Breakdown
If you had to pick one player in college football to single-handedly change a football game, you would pick Jaylen Waddle without a doubt. Just getting the football in his hands makes defenders tremble, and one missed tackle is all he needs to get the ball in the endzone. With Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III off to the NFL, Alabama will get Waddle more touches, and that should create more anxiety for the defenses they face.
Many players have speed as a strength, but not many of them have Jaylen Waddle speed. He gets going so quickly that even the perfect angle from a fast defender isn’t enough to catch him sometimes. Once he breaks free, it’s game over. No one can catch him. On top of that, he’s a fighter when it comes to breaking tackles and embracing contact. He has the mentality that he can run past you, but also isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder and send a message. He has the physical tools to change a game, and now he can continue working on his craft as a receiver.
Waddle’s a competitor when it comes to catching passes that are in traffic or contested, but he can help himself even more by expanding his catch radius. Many times he relies on his body to haul in a pass, and that could lead to drops or allow a defender more time to come in and break it up. In addition to that, he can work on his route running. Right now, his speed is what gives him separation from his man, but a focus on running crisper routes with sharper cuts would create more separation to catch passes.
Overall, Jaylen Waddle’s the definition of a nightmare. Even if he doesn’t run the best routes, he can still torch his defender. He’s that fast. All Alabama needs to do at times is get him the football. Teams also must worry about kicking the football to him as a returner. The Tide find unique ways to get him the ball, and he’ll get more touches this year. If teams weren’t ready last year, they’re in for a rude awakening this year.