Desmond Howard explains why Alabama's Jaylen Waddle is in his Heisman conversation
The last time Alabama had a receiver make it as a Heisman Trophy finalist was 2014, and even overall, there have only been 3 running backs as finalists since then. The most well-known trophy in college football has become a quarterback-dominated award for a while.
But ESPN analyst Desmond Howard said Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle could change that this season. Speaking on the ESPN College Football Podcast with Kevin Negandhi, Howard outlined several reasons why Waddle is in the mix with Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard behind favorite Trevor Lawrence at Clemson alongside teammate Travis Etienne.
“I really, really like Jaylen Waddle,” Howard said. “… Such a multi-dimensional athlete. He can hurt you in the kickoff game, punt return, he can run reverses, he can go deep. He can hurt you from so many different positions. He’s just like a Swiss Army Knife out there. Just a hell of a weapon. He’s also a guy to keep an eye on as a guy if Alabama is going to do anything significant this year, I think he’s going to play an important role in their success. Keep an eye out for Jaylen Waddle.”
Negandhi recalled that last year’s winner, Joe Burrow, was not mentioned highly at this point in 2019.
Waddle totaled 1,227 all-purpose yards for the Crimson Tide in the 2019 season, and earned second team All-America accolades as a returner from the Associated Press and Walter Camp. He was the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year and a first-team selection at return specialist by the league’s coaches. Waddle led the nation in punt return average at 24.4 yards per return with 20 for 487 yards and a touchdown, including a long of 77. That shattered the previous single-season mark for Alabama with his 24.4 yards per return average.
As a receiver, he totaled 560 yards and 6 touchdowns on 33 catches.