Jaylen Waddle went from suffering a presumed season-ending ankle injury to winning the national championship last season.
He’s now headed to the NFL after the Dolphins selected the wide receiver at No. 6 in the 2021 NFL draft.
Waddle started the 2020 college season with a bang at Alabama last fall, topping 120 receiving yards in four consecutive games to start the season. He tallied 557 yards on 25 catches, adding with four touchdowns during the stretch.
Waddle missed six games after suffering a high-ankle sprain against Tennessee. He returned to the field in before suiting up for the national title game. While visibly limping at times, the wideout hauled in three catches for 34 yards.
“My hat’s off to him,” head coach Nick Saban said when Waddled declared for the draft. “I had the same injury, so I know the difficulties coming back from that. You’re healed but your ankle is so stiff, it’s difficult to sort of get the flexibility and the flexion back so you can explode like you want to, especially when you drop your weight on that foot, which comes when you’re slowing down, trying to make a cut.
“I have a lot of respect for Jaylen Waddle. His mental toughness and his ability to be able to come back.”
During his three-year career with the Crimson Tide, Waddle tallied 106 receptions for 1,999 yards, averaging over 18 yards per catch. He totaled 17 touchdowns, plus three special teams scores.
Waddle is the second straight top-10 pick by the Dolphins out of Alabama. Miami selected quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 5 pick in the 2020 draft.
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