Alabama Loses An Offensive Weapon For The Remainder Of 2020
On the opening kickoff for Alabama's 48-17 road win in Knoxville, TN, junior receiver and returner Jaylen Waddle was tackled awkwardly, prior to immediately grabbing his right ankle, then laboring towards the medical staff on the near sideline.
Nick Saban discussed Waddle's injury at halftime with, "We're going to fly him back privately with the doctors and take him back to Birmingham and see what we have to do right away." Saban added, "If that's the case, and we're pretty certain that it is, he would probably be out for the year.''
Through the four full games he was able to appear in during the 2020 season, Waddle has accumulated a team-leading 557 yards receiving while matching TDs with Alabama's leader in receiving scores (DeVonta Smith, 4 Rec TDs).
Following Alabama's 14th consecutive win against Tennessee, Saban stated, "He's got a very similar injury to what Kenyan Drake had (at Alabama in 2014), the high ankle sprain but also a fracture."
Though, what separates the Tide's two leading pass-catchers, which Alabama's offense will sorely miss for the remainder of 2020, is Jaylen Waddle's impeccable efficiency when he gets his touches. For comparison, DeVonta Smith's 2020 season adds up to 45 catches, 556 yards, and four touchdowns; however, Waddle's aforementioned 557 yards are a product of only 25 catches.
It would certainly be a fair argument to assert that Alabama normally has enough talent in its program to adapt if they happen to lose their No. 2 wideout. On the other hand, replacing Waddle's offensive efficiency, playmaking ability, and world-class speed is a task in which few programs could succeed.
A possible glimpse of hope for the concerned Alabama fan could be the performance from the Canadian true-sophomore, John Metchie III. After losing Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III in the 2020 NFL Draft, Metchie III was in a position to take over the third depth chart slot in the Crimson Tide receiver's room. Since earning his starting spot for the truncated 2020 season, the Ontario native has racked up 499 yards and three touchdowns from only 21 catches.