Former Episcopal Wide Receiver Sets NFL Record
Mike Evans was not the only Texas high school football product to set NFL wide receiver records this year. While Evans was busy breaking the consecutive seasons of over 1,000 yards receiving record, another former wide receiver from Texas was setting another record.
Rookie Reception Record
Waddle caught 104 catches for 1,015 yards and 6 touchdowns in 16 games played this year. Waddle broke the NFL record for most receptions by a rookie wide receiver, previously held by Anquan Boldin of the Arizona Cardinals in 2003. His 104 catches are 3rd all-time in Dolphins history, behind only behind Jarvis Landry who has 112 in 2017 and 110 in 2015.
High School and College
Waddle was a U.S. Army All-American at Episcopal. While Texas, TCU, and Texas A&M were said to be three of his top four college choices, he picked Alabama. He joined a great group of wide receivers at Alabama, with 3 receivers who would go on to be drafted in the first round of the NFL, and a 4th teammate, John Metchie II, who is expected to be a first-round pick this year.
In 2018 Waddle was the SEC freshmen of the year. His stars dropped a bit in 2019 due to the star cast of receivers he played behind, but he was the 2019 SEC Special Teams Player of the Year.
In 2020, his season got off to a great start, and he was mentioned as an early Heisman Trophy candidate, having more catches early in the season than teammate DeVonta Smith. But, a mid-season leg injury ended the regular season for Waddle, and Smith went on to have a historic season to win the Heisman Trophy. However, Waddle returned for the championship game and helped Alabama beat Ohio State for the National Championship.
Waddle was a player that was listed all over the draft board. Some had him going in the top 3, while others had him going as low as the 20’s. However, the Miami Dolphins took him with the #6 pick. Waddle was reunited with his Alabama teammate, Tua Tagovailoa.
Waddle fits well into the Dolphins offensive scheme. He catches a good percentage of his passes behind the line of scrimmage or just 2-3 yards downfield. As the season went on, they did have Waddle involved in a few deeper routes. Though the Dolphins are going through yet another coaching change, it is likely Waddle’s role in the offense will only grow.
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