Jaylen Waddle had a Heisman performance last week for Alabama football.
Jaylen Waddle was buried on the depth chart behind three first-round draft prospects last season, but he is ready to shine as a junior. His first game of 2020 included two touchdown scores and over 100 receiving yards for Alabama football. This dominant performance makes fans question if he can be a legitimate Heisman candidate.
The Heisman Trophy can go to any athlete, but it has historically been a quarterback’s award. The past two recipients that were not quarterbacks were Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram. Desmond Howard was the last receiver to win the award. However, 2020 is already going to be a chaotic year. There might be some added chaos in the awards process.
If Waddle wants to even be a finalist, he will have to put out multiple performances like he did last Saturday. He was a stud against Missouri, but it will take more to win the highest honor a college athlete can receive. His overall statistics will be lower due to a limited regular season, but he will still need to average well over 100 receiving yards a game. Highlight-reel catches will also help his odds as people think back on the biggest moments in college football. One thing working for Waddle is the fact that he will be a starter on special teams. Waddle needs to return punts or kickoffs for touchdowns in 2020. This will be hard with teams kicking away from him, but he needs at least one or two. A Heisman moment against Georgia or Auburn would not hurt his case, either.
There are things that are working against Waddle. For starters, he is not the only star on the Alabama football offense. Najee Harris will get his carries, and DeVonta Smith will get his targets in the passing game. Mac Jones himself could even be a Heisman candidate with the way that he distributes the ball. There are also plenty of great quarterbacks to consider. Kyle Trask, KJ Costello and Jones are darkhorse candidates. Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields will be near the top of the pack by the end of the season. Skill players usually win the Heisman when the quarterback class is weak. When Ingram won the Heisman, there was only one quarterback in the top four finalists. When Henry won, another running back came in second place.
With the odds stacked against him, the Heisman Trophy appears to be a pipe dream for Jaylen Waddle. However, he will do his part to earn recognition for himself and the Alabama football program. If he doesn’t win the award, it won’t be due to a lack of talent or production.