It’s not all about straight line speed for Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. His game also has some wiggle.

Among numerous Friday questions about whether he was the team’s fastest player — Waddle concedes that he lost a 40-yard race to track star and fellow wide receiver Henry Ruggs III but says a 10-race series would “probably end up 5-5,” the sophomore wide receiver from Houston also said he is concentrating on his role in what promises to be an explosive Alabama offense.

“I think it’s a great position for the things that I can do personally, just some of my skill sets go really well,” Waddle said on Thursday at the last session of UA player interviews before the start of game week.

Alabama coach Nick Saban, speaking at his post-practice press conference on Thursday, seemed to have similar expectations for Waddle, who caught 46 passes for 848 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018.

“Jaylen … made a tremendous amount of plays last year and hopefully he’ll continue to do that, Saban said. “I think he’s grown and matured in terms of the fundamental things at the position.”

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who met with the media last week, seemed even more excited about the possibility of having all four veteran receivers on the field.

“When you have Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, the (defensive) guys aren’t going to play man, they’re going to play zone,” Tagovailoa said. “If you play man against these guys, we’ve got ti go out and torch the defense. If they play zone, it opens up a lot of the run game.”

“I mean, that’s pretty exciting, just us four being all on the same field,” Waddle said. “I think it’s pretty cool.”

Alabama practiced indoors on Friday as the roster continues to approach full strength. Defensive lineman Stephon Wynn (ankle injury)  was still absent in the media viewing period but there were no other notable absences among the players who worked yesterday.

Jerome Ford was back at running back although the rotation was unchanged from what it has been most of August with Najee Harris and Brian Robinson getting first-unit reps followed.by Ford, freshman Keilan Robinson and Chadarius Townsend. Freshman Trey Sanders is expected to miss the season after ankle surgery earlier this month.

Kyle Edwards, a running back from Destrehan, Louisiana, committed to join Alabama’s 2020 recruiting class on Friday morning. Edwards (5-11, 212) was the backup to 2019 five-star and LSU signee John Emery last season, and is rated as the No. 2 running back prospect in talent-rich Louisiana.

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil@tidesports.com

 

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