Jaylen Waddle Reveals Player Who Indirectly Convinced Him to Commit to Alabama

Former Alabama and current Miami Dolphins standout wide receiver Jaylen Waddle recently detailed who "sold" him to join the Crimson Tide in 2018.
Nov 30, 2019; Auburn, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) makes a touchdown catch as Auburn Tigers defensive back Javaris Davis (13) defends during the fourth quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 30, 2019; Auburn, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) makes a touchdown catch as Auburn Tigers defensive back Javaris Davis (13) defends during the fourth quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports / John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
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Consensus top-10 wide receiver recruit Jaylen Waddle was making tons of noise in his early years at Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas and began to receive tons of offers starting in late 2016.

One of those offers was from Alabama in April 2017. He later made a few visits to Tuscaloosa, Ala. that summer, and in one of them, his profound approval of one of the players during practice indirectly convinced him to commit to the Tide over nearby school, Texas A&M, a couple of months later.

"I had a good relationship with Jalen Hurts, he's from Houston too, so I was familiar with his game," Waddle said in Tuesday's edition of The OGs podcast hosted by former Miami Heat players Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem. "But they always talked about Tua (Tagovailoa) when Jalen Hurts was done, graduated. Tua was the next person in line and everyone spoke highly of him. I went down there, saw Tua throw and I said 'Hey, you got me. I'm sold.'"

Waddle made it official in February 2018. About one month before that was the 2018 National Championship between Alabama and Georgia. Hurts was benched after being down 13-0 at the half and Tagovailoa filled in and led Alabama to a 26-23 all-time-great victory.

After his heroic performance in the National Championship, Tagovailoa became the starter over Hurts during Waddle's freshman campaign. The duo couldn't have connected much better as Waddle was named the SEC Freshman of the Year after hauling in 45 receptions for 848 yards and seven touchdowns.

Tagovailoa and Waddle were a notable tandem once again in 2019 and it helped the quarterback get selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins.

Waddle dealt with injuries during Alabama's dominant National Championship run the following season, but the Dolphins were quite fond of their young quarterback's bond with the Crimson Tide standout receiver and selected him with the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Tagovailoa and Waddle's chemistry has grown insurmountably ever since. The 25-year-old has tallied over 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons and has become one of the more prominent pass-catchers in the league. Waddle's best season thus far came in 2022, as he logged 1,356 receiving yards for eight touchdowns on a league-high 18.1 yards per reception.

Fast-forward to today, Miami picked up Waddle's fifth-year option earlier this offseason and Tagovailoa is expecting a lucrative extension of hopefully over $50 million per year within the coming weeks.


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Hunter De Siver

HUNTER DE SIVER

Hunter De Siver is a graduate from the University of Alabama, earning a degree in sports media. During his time in Tuscaloosa, Hunter distributed articles covering Alabama football, basketball, and baseball for WVUA 23 TV and discussed these topics on Tide 100.9 FM. Hunter also generated articles highlighting Crimson Tide products in the NFL and NBA for BamaCentral. Since graduation, he's been contributing a plethora of NFL and NBA stories for FanNation and is a staff writer at MizzouCentral, Cowbell Corner and is back at BamaCentral.