Waddle Returning From Broken Ankle to Play in Title Game

by 24USATVJan. 12, 2021, 3 a.m. 26
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Alabama's offense has tallied over 50 points in three of its last four games, and the Crimson Tide will receive an additional boost to its receiving corps on Monday night.

Junior wide receiver Jaylen Waddle will return to the field on Monday as Alabama faces Ohio State in the national championship, suiting up for the first time since fracturing his ankle against Tennessee on Oct. 24. And while the Crimson Tide have been just fine in Waddle's absence, his return could make a key difference for quarterback Mac Jones. Waddle has tallied 25 catches for 557 yards in 2020, finding the end zone four times. With Waddle likely eyeing the 2021 NFL Draft after Monday night, perhaps he'll save his best at the collegiate level for last.

Waddle caught one pass on Alabama's first drive on Monday night, racing to the sideline after a 15-yard gain. He then limped off the field before the Crimson Tide took a 7-0 lead on a Najee Harris touchdown run.

Waddle is far from the only standout talent on Alabama's offense. Crimson Tide senior Devonta Smith won the Heisman Trophy in 2020, entering Monday night with 102 receptions for 1,641 yards. In a long line of Alabama receivers, Smith has a legitimate case as the best of the Nick Saban era.

Saban enters Monday night seeking his sixth national championship with the Crimson Tide. Alabama last won the national title in 2018, losing to Clemson in the 2019 national championship.

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