After that season, many in the sports world took notice.
“The freshman may just be the best Crimson Tide quarterback - regardless of age or race - in 125 years.”
– Aaron Dodson, Jan 2017
The following year, he quarterbacked the team to a 12 - 1 record and a spot in the College Football Playoff. In the championship game against the University of Georgia, Jalen did not play well. Down by a score of 13 - 0 at the half, he was benched in favor of the backup quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa. Tua sparked the offense and led the Crimson Tide comeback by defeating Georgia 26 - 23.
Soon, people began to notice Tua.
“Tua Tagovailoa’s Rise Seemed Unlikely… In the national title game against Georgia, that meant replacing an established QB with an unproven true freshman—and producing a legend as a result.”
– Rodger Sherman, Jan 2018
“A QB conundrum at Alabama: What’s next for Jalen Hurts?”
– Washington Post, Sept 2018
In this day and age of college football, many highly touted players were transferring to other colleges if they were being demoted after losing the starting position. Clemson quarterback Bryant Kelly left the team early this season after he lost the starting position to freshman Trevor Lawrence; a few others followed. No one would have faulted Jalen if he did the same. Instead, he stayed for the 2018 season. He battled Tua for the starting job and ultimately lost the position.
As fate would have it, in this year’s Southeastern Conference Championship, Tua got hurt when Alabama was trailing Georgia by seven points with a little over eleven minutes left in the game. In that time, Jalen threw for a touchdown to tie the game and ran for another to win the game.
“Jalen Hurts' storybook ending comes just in time for Alabama”
– ESPN Dec 2018
“People around nation amazed, impressed with Jalen Hurts after he leads Alabama to win”
– Kansas City Star Dec 2018
“'Thank God Jalen stayed: Hurts earns ultimate redemption in leading Alabama back from the brink”
– CBS Sports Dec 2018
“I’m so proud of this guy for what he’s done this year. I can’t even tell you.”
– Nick Saban, Head Coach Dec 2018
Now, I will admit that I do not care for Alabama football but Jalen Hurts’ story is amazing. He could have found a situation at another school that would have allowed him to play more. He could have left the program to do that, but instead he kept practicing, played hard and took advantage of the opportunity that was presented to him.
HE FOCUSED ON THE PROCESS AND NOT THE RESULT.
HE NEVER GAVE UP.
HE CONTINUED TO WORK AND PRACTICE WITHOUT KNOWING IF HE WOULD EVER PLAY AGAIN.
HE CONTINUED TO BE A LEADER ON THE SIDELINES AND IN PRACTICE.
For students, this is a perfect example to follow. Students should choose to not give up on their studies, choose to work hard, choose to treat others with respect and choose to always do their best. This was my message to students as we closed out the Fall 2018 Semester and this will always be something to live by. Nobody knows what Jalen Hurts’ legacy will be. He graduated from the University of Alabama last month so he technically can transfer to another school to play one more year. I’m not sure if he’s good enough for the NFL at this point but he is certainly an inspiration for our young students. Regardless of his affiliation with Alabama football, he’s made me a fan.