No. 1 Alabama already has one of the best offenses in the country, and could get even more help when it takes on No. 3 Ohio State in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle will return to practice on Tuesday and could be available play against the Buckeyes. Waddle has been since Oct. 24 when he injured his ankle on the opening kickoff vs. Tennessee.
“He’s been running, but we need to see him in practice,” Tide coach Nick Saban said. “Our medical people will evaluate him as the week goes on and make a decision from there. He wants to play and has been working hard to get back.”
The star junior for the Crimson Tide had 25 catches for 557 yards and four touchdowns through his first four games, while adding elements in the return game to Alabama’s special teams. He was named a second-team All-SEC return specialist by the SEC’s coaches following the regular season.
His shortened season came after he proved to be one of college football’s most dynamic weapons in 2019. He racked up 560 receiving yards and six touchdowns, 487 punt return yards and one touchdown, and 175 kickoff return yards with one touchdown. He was named a first-team All-American as a punt returner by CBS Sports and several other outlets, including the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
If Waddle is able to play, he’ll provide even more versatility to a Crimson Tide offense that is littered with offensive weapons including wide receiver and Heisman Trophy finalist DeVonta Smith. Fellow receiver John Metchie III has stepped up to take on more responsibility in Waddle’s absence, which would create more depth and more options for quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist Mac Jones.
The Crimson Tide and Buckeyes are set to tee it up for all of the marbles on Jan. 11 at 8 p.m.