More than 25 programs from around the nation have gauged the market on Bellaire Episcopal wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. Take one look at the four-star Houston-area prospect in action and it becomes quite clear why he’s among the most coveted pass-catchers in his class.
To describe Waddle in one word–Electrifying.
At just 5’9.5, 175 pounds, what Waddle lacks in terms of ideal size, he accounts for and then some with incredible explosiveness with ball in his hands.
A do-it-all standout for Bellaire Episcopal, Waddle already looks the part of a year-one contributor at the program of his choice, despite still being a handful of months away from his final high school season. As a junior, Waddle utilized his expansive skill set to the tune of 1,382 yards and 26 touchdowns on just 48 receptions—an incredible 54 percent of his catches went for scores—along with another 277 yards and four touchdowns as a rusher. Waddle thrived in the return game, as well, bringing back two punts and three kick returns for scores in 2016.
In short, Waddle’s a walking highlight reel, but there’s much that goes into what makes him such a dynamic prospect.
Largely being recruited as a slot receiver prospect, Waddle brings an ideal skill set to the table.
A position that requires a playmaker with the ball in his hands, Waddle is just that. The first attribute that jumps out is Waddle’s tremendous quickness, which becomes evident long before the ball actually gets into his hands.
We’ll start there.
Even from the line of scrimmage, Waddle is able to utilize exceptionally fast feet and the ability to control and guide his hips to make jamming him at the line a much taller task than when matched against your average receiver. From there, where he’ll often already have a step advantage, Waddle applies head fakes, stutter steps and impressive change of direction into his routes that can tend to leave the one of the nation’s premier pass-catchers wide open. Not to mention, his route running is considerably crisp for a recruit at this stage in their development.
Once he gets the ball into his hands, Waddle consistently flashes why he’s among the most exciting prospects in the 2018 class.
The Bellaire native’s bread and butter comes after the catch, return, handoff, or however he gets the ball. An extremely elusive talent, Waddle thrives in open space and is tremendously shifty and quick when avoiding tackles. If a defender in on an island and Waddle has just one man to beat, that’s a battle he’s going to win far more often than not.
At the high school level, he’s a home run threat literally every time he touches the ball, and that likely going to remain the case at the next level.
To date, just 12 programs remain in the mix for the Houston-area All-American: Texas, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Georgia, LSU, Alabama, Florida State, TCU, Miami, Florida and Oregon.
One of these programs will be adding a future star to their roster by next February.
Waddle ranks as the nation’s No. 96 player, No. 19 wide receiver and the No. 12 player in Texas, per 247Sports Composite.
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