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Despite an injury, Jaylen Waddle has pushed Alabama into College Football Playoff


#He is the most entertaining and explosive player on the field, but his greatest work in returning the #University of #Alabama back to the #College #Football #Playoff has come off the field.

A matchup against #Tennessee in week five of its season was a bittersweet moment for #Alabama fans.

#Some people directed the blame at #Nick #Saban for having #Jaylen #Waddle on kickoff return; nevertheless, these are also the same ones that rejoiced when #Waddle broke a huge play for a touchdown. #It is the coach’s fault for wanting to play his best players?

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#Alabama wide receiver, #Jaylen #Waddle (#No. 17) tackled and injured on opening kickoff versus #Tennessee/ #Photo comes via #Katie #McMekin of #Knoxville #News #Sentinel-USA TODAY #Sports

#Saban has been fighting this thought, especially after what happened to #Tua #Tagovailoa in 2019.

A right ankle injury caused the #Crimson #Tide to lose #Waddle for the remainder of the regular season. The issue forced #DeVonta #Smith to step up and like his former teammate, #Henry #Ruggs III, the senior struggled to not blame himself for the mishap.

#No matter how many times the family of #Rod #Scott tells #Ruggs it was not his fault, the #Montgomery (#Ala.) native will always carry a feeling of guilt in the death of his best friend.

#For the receiver nicknamed “The #Slim #Reaper,” #Smith told reporters that he was responsible for telling #Waddle to stay in the end zone on the opening kickoff against the #Volunteers. #But … how does one say “No” to a gifted player that creates so much good fortune, especially when he touches the ball? #Smith did not have the heart to keep #Waddle back and honestly, one cannot blame him. #Eddie #Jackson probably wanted to tell #Minkah #Fitzpatrick to take a knee in the end zone in 2016 versus #Arkansas after recording an interception, but #Jackson felt like #Fitzpatrick could score on the play.

Jaylen Waddle at Iron Bowl for Alabama on crutches

#Nov 28, 2020; #Tuscaloosa, #Alabama, USA; #Alabama injured wide receiver #Jaylen #Waddle (17) at #Bryant-Denny #Stadium before the #Iron #Bowl. #Mandatory #Credit: #Mickey #Welsh/The #Montgomery #Advertiser via USA TODAY #Sports

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#In knowing #Waddle’s speed, #Smith felt the same way.

DeVonta Smith with a touchdown catch over Derek Stingley of LSU

#Dec 5, 2020; #Baton #Rouge, #Louisiana, USA; #Alabama #Crimson #Tide wide receiver #DeVonta #Smith (6) makes a one handed touchdown catch over LSU #Tigers cornerback #Derek #Stingley #Jr. (24) during the second quarter at #Tiger #Stadium. #Mandatory #Credit: #Derick E. #Hingle-USA TODAY #Sports

The absence of the native #Texan through six games prompted #Smith to take over. #He emerged from being “2nd and 26” to dismantling every defensive secondary in college football.

#Whether it he was doubled or triple covered in some instances, the #Louisiana native looked at #Mac #Jones and said ‘get me the ball.’ #He recorded five 100-yard performances with #Waddle out, including a pair of 200-yard outings against #Mississippi #State (203) and LSU (231).

#His success in both matchups and the #Tide’s meeting with #Auburn had #Waddle feeling sorry for defenses in the SEC. #Smith saved his finest moment for the SEC title game, where he collected a game-record and school-record for receptions (15) and totaled 184 yards receiving with two touchdowns.

DeVonta Smith (No. 6) of Alabama with a nice catch versus Florida in SEC Championship Game

#Dec 19, 2020; #Atlanta, #Georgia, USA; #Alabama #Crimson #Tide wide receiver #DeVonta #Smith (6) catches a pass against #Florida #Gators defensive back #Donovan #Stiner (13) during the first quarter in the SEC #Championship at #Mercedes-Benz #Stadium. #Mandatory #Credit: #Adam #Hagy-USA TODAY #Sports

#He went to assistant coaches #Steve #Sarkisian (offensive coordinator) and #Holman #Wiggins (wide receivers’ coach) and promised both he can handle more responsibilities on offense.

#Although he came in the 2017 class as the underrated receiver, #Smith has blossomed into being the best wide out to play at #Alabama.

#He has accomplished many awards thus far and is a finalist for the #Heisman #Memorial #Trophy.

#For him, he credits #God for the opportunity and he also looks at #Waddle as a major inspiration.

DeVonta Smith and John Metchie celebrate Smith's TD versus Ole Miss

#Oct 10, 2020; #Oxford, MX, USA; #Alabama receivers #Jaylen #Waddle (17), #DeVonta #Smith (6) and #John #Metchie III (8) celebrate during the game against #Mississippi at #Vaught-Hemingway #Stadium. #Mandatory #Credit: #Kent #Gidley via USA TODAY #Sports

“When he went down, he just made me want to set the role to do more, just feeling that it’s a big player that we lost, and I just wanted to do more for the team, do whatever I can for the team,” #Smith said of #Waddle on #Tuesday. “He’s helped me a lot, just with the things that he sees when he’s at the game. #He talks to me about things that he see. #He’s still on the sideline helping us with the offensive things like that, and just being here in the film room, just on the things that he sees. #So he helps me and the other players a lot.”

#He is younger than the 2017 class, but #Waddle builds on the character athlete that #Saban loves.

#Before his injury, the junior had 25 catches for 557 yards with four scores. #He averaged 23 yards per catch.

Jaylen Waddle runs for a touchdown versus Georgia

#Oct 17, 2020; #Tuscaloosa, #Alabama, USA; #Alabama wide receiver #Jaylen #Waddle (17) catches a pass after #Georgia defensive back #Tyson #Campbell (3) fell. #Waddle turned the catch into a 90 yard touchdown during the second half of #Alabama’s 41-24 win over #Georgia at #Bryant-Denny #Stadium. #Mandatory #Credit: #Gary #Cosby #Jr/The #Tuscaloosa #News via USA TODAY #Sports

#Waddle has been strong in his rehab and has been out of his walking boot for a while.

The 5-foot-10, 182-pounder wants to return to action, but it will be based on if the medical staff feels like he is ready. #Regardless of what happens, having him on the sideline has sparked the team to be back in the CFP. #Should he not be able to play, #Alabama is prepared to win a national championship for him and #Landon #Dickerson.

DeVonta Smith reacts after scoring a TD for Alabama vas. Florida in 2020 SEC Championship

#Dec 19, 2020; #Atlanta, #Georgia, USA; #Alabama #Crimson #Tide wide receiver #DeVonta #Smith (6) reacts after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the #Florida #Gators in the SEC #Championship at #Mercedes-Benz #Stadium. #Mandatory #Credit: #Dale #Zanine-USA TODAY #Sports

#Waddle is one of the glue guys, and it was a glue guy that positioned #Smith for a chance to win the #Heisman.

*#Get the BEST #Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

#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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https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/12/30/jaylen-waddle-alabama-college-football-playoff-injury/

#injury ##Jaylen ##Waddle #pushed ##Alabama ##College ##Football ##Playoff

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