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Five-Star Edge Rusher Jayden Wayne Still Has Alabama as His ‘Top School’

The Washington native is still high on the Crimson Tide following a Zoom call with Nick Saban this week.

Jayden Wayne has had several conversations with Nick Saban. Following each one, the five-star edge rusher has left with the same feeling.

Alabama is a place that will help him grow into a better man as well as a football player.

“Always, they are my top school,” Wayne told BamaCentral. “Coach Saban is the best.”

Wayne spoke with Saban over a Zoom call on Tuesday where the two of them discussed his possible future in Tuscaloosa. While the head coach can see the 6-foot-5, 235-pound athlete becoming an elite pass rusher at the next level, he also believes his future is just as bright on the other side of the ball.

Wayne is widely considered as an edge rusher but also serves as a tight end for his high school. It’s likely he would serve on the defensive side of the ball if he chose the Crimson Tide. However, given Alabama’s lack of depth at tight end, a switch to offense isn’t out of the question.

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“[Saban] really likes my size and athleticism,” Wayne said. “He thinks I can contribute to the tight end position right away or pick outside linebacker if I want to. He said I can excel at either. I really like outside linebacker, but if Coach Saban says I'm better at tight end, then the team needs to come first.”

During his junior season last year Wayne recorded 79 tackles, including 19 stops for a loss and 11 sacks, to go with 23 quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles on defense. He also chipped in 269 yards and five touchdowns on 18 receptions as a tight end.

Wayne, a native of Tacoma, Wash., native is rated as the No. 3 edge rusher and No. 28 overall player in the 2023 class, according to the 247Sports Composite. While the Crimson Tide hasn’t signed many players from the Pacific Northwest, Wayne said he and his family are not concerned about the potential of making a cross-country journey if his football career takes him in that direction.

“They don't mind. They like traveling,” Wayne said. “They just want me to follow my dreams and be the best version of me I can.”

Wayne took an official visit to Georgia last week. He is scheduled to take official visits to LSU (June 10), Miami (June 17) and Oregon (June 24). Following his conversation with Saban, he said the head coach is urging him to make his official visit to Alabama during the fall. 

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Class of 2023 recruit Jayden Wayne and Alabama head coach Nick Saban