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Alabama's Jaylen Waddle returns to practice ahead of College Football Playoff title game

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra
Oct 3, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) runs after making a catch while Texas A&M defensive back Myles Jones (0) makes the tackle at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, sidelined by an ankle injury for more than two months, has been back at practice this week in preparation for the College Football Playoff championship game against Ohio State, offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian confirmed Wednesday.  

Sarkisian said Waddle returned on Tuesday, but stopped short of saying whether it meant one of the Crimson Tide’s premier pass catchers would be available to face the Buckeyes in less than a week.   

“We’ll see where it goes from here,” Sarkisian said.

Prior to injuring his ankle on the opening kickoff of an Oct. 24 game at Tennessee, Waddle had caught 25 passes for 557 yards and four touchdowns, another weapon in Alabama’s passing game alongside DeVonta Smith, who became the first wide receiver in almost three decades to win the Heisman Trophy.

Alabama ranks fifth in the Football Bowl Subdivision in passing offense, averaging 349.3 yards per game, led by quarterback Mac Jones who also finished third in the Heisman voting.

Jones said “it’d be really cool” if one of is top receivers was healthy enough to return for Monday’s title game.

“Jaylen has worked really hard to get back on the field,” Jones added, “and I know he wants nothing more than to play.”

Smith thought his teammate fared well in his first day back on Tuesday.

“Of course, he's going to take some time just for him to get back comfortable with everything,” Smith said, “but he looks good to me.”

jkaufman@dispatch.com

@joeyrkaufman