Report: Alabama's Jaylen Waddle Will Play in CFP Title Game vs. OSU After Injury

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIIJanuary 11, 2021

Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) carries the ball against Auburn during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

Not that it needed one, but the Alabama offense got a major facelift ahead of the College Football Playoff National Championship Game against Ohio State on Monday night.

Crimson Tide star wideout Jaylen Waddle fractured his ankle at the end of October and hasn't played since, but he is set to return Monday night, according to ESPN's Allison Williams (via Field Yates). He will be limited against Ohio State.

Matt Zenitz of AL.com reported earlier Monday that Waddle began practicing last week and was "likely" to play. Per Zenitz, Waddle planned to meet with his family and the team after pregame warm-ups to decide if he would take the field. 

Coach Nick Saban said it was up to Waddle if he wanted to play, but "it will be a limited basis" if he does take the field. 

Through five games for Alabama this season, Waddle collected 557 yards—good for fourth in the country at the time of his season-ending ankle injury—on 25 receptions with four touchdowns. Entering Monday, he ranked sixth all-time at Alabama with 733 career punt-return yards. He snagged a second-team All-SEC honor as a return specialist even in his limited campaign. 

The junior posted similar numbers last season, when he reeled in 33 passes for 560 yards and six touchdowns in a season when he was named SEC Special Teams Player of the Year and a second-team All-American by the Associated Press.

He made an impact the moment he arrived in Tuscaloosa, as he tallied 848 yards and seven touchdowns on 45 receptions in 2018. He was voted SEC Freshman of the Year by the league's coaches that season, when he led all freshman wide receivers in receptions (3.1) and receiving yards (56.5) per game.

Waddle, a native of Houston, is projected to be a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft.