It is now more or less official that Jalen Hurts will be an active part of the Alabama Crimson Tide for the remainder of the 2018 season.
By NCAA rules, Hurts could have appeared in four games or less this season and still sought a redshirt. However, the quarterback appeared in his fifth game of the 2018 season on Saturday, officially ensuring that he will not be able to take a redshirt season in 2018 to seek an extra year of eligibility.
Hurts entered the game in the first quarter, with Alabama already ahead of Louisiana 28-0.
Earlier in September, there was some reporting indicating that Hurts would redshirt in 2018, thus ensuring him two more years of eligibility. That obviously has not come to pass. Hurts can and likely will still seek a graduate transfer at the end of the season granting him immediate eligibility elsewhere, but only one year of it, not two. Until then, he’ll occasionally spell Tua Tagovailoa while also serving as an insurance policy.
Nick Saban is getting both of his quarterbacks plenty of action early in the season, as promised.
Sophomore Tua Tagovailoa started for Alabama in their game against Arkansas State on Saturday. He threw three touchdown passes in the team’s first four possessions, helping Bama go up 19-0.
For the Crimson Tide’s fifth possession, Tagovailoa was replaced at quarterback by Jalen Hurts. Hurts led a nice drive from Bama’s 16 to the Arkansas State 4 before he lost a fumble. On his next possession, he threw a touchdown pass to put Bama up 26-0.
Alabama has played two games so far and Hurts has seen action in both. Saban was careful throughout the offseason not to name a starter and to deflect questions about a quarterback controversy. He’s trying to give both playing time, which actually makes one wonder whether the red shirt report is accurate.
Alabama and Jalen Hurts have an agreement for 2018 that seems to keep all parties’ best interests in mind, according to a report.
Aaron Suttles, who was an Alabama beat reporter for the Tuscaloosa News and now writes for The Athletic, said on his “3 Man Front” radio show on WJOX Friday that Hurts and Bama have an agreement for this season.
According to Suttles, Hurts would be expected to redshirt this season as long as Tua Tagovailoa is not injured.
There are new redshirt rules this season which allow a player to appear in four games and still take a redshirt year. According to this report, so long as Tagovailoa stays healthy, we should not expect to see Hurts in more than four games.
If Hurts were to redshirt this season, he’d be able to leave Alabama as a graduate transfer after the season and still have two seasons of eligibility left elsewhere. This reported agreement seems to serve the interests of both parties perfectly. Hurts is good enough and talented enough where he should be a starting quarterback for a major college program. Alabama should be playing Tagovailoa because he’s better than Hurts, but they also want to keep Hurts because they can contend for a national championship with him at QB if something happens to Tagovailoa.
The only question is whether this report is indeed accurate. Nick Saban has been extremely careful to emphasize the importance of both quarterbacks to the team, even getting angry with a reporter asking about the subject. He’s insisted that both quarterbacks will continue to play. He also said the redshirt rule will not affect how he uses Hurts.
We will know before too long whether Hurts plays too much to maintain the option to redshirt this year. However, the possibility of him leaving as a graduate transfer after the season seems quite real.
Tua Tagovailoa took an early lead in the Alabama quarterback competition, according to a report.
Alabama on Saturday held one of its two fall scrimmages. Though they are not open to the media, that didn’t stop AL.com’s Matt Zenitz from writing about and reporting on the event.
Zenitz says he was told Tagovailoa “threw at least three touchdowns with no interceptions” and that Jalen Hurts “had three interceptions and didn’t account for any touchdowns.”
He also pointed to a tweet from former Alabama DB Will Lowery, who tweeted the following about the competition:
Many have expected Tagovailoa to win the job after seeing how well he performed against Georgia last season. There was speculation that Hurts could even transfer out of the program despite being so successful in his first two seasons, though that did not happen. However, Hurts recently made some headlines when he was critical of the Bama coaches’ handling of the QB situation.
Nick Saban on Wednesday responded Jalen Hurts’ criticism of the coaching staff.
Hurts told the media on Saturday that none of the Alabama Crimson Tide coaches had communicated with him or checked with him about how he was feeling about the quarterback competition. Hurts, who was the Crimson Tide’s starter the past two seasons, is competing with Tua Tagovailoa for the starting job. Tagovailoa came in after halftime of the national championship game and led the Tide to victory.
Saban says that Hurts’ comments and criticism will not affect the competition.
“I don’t think it has any effect on our team. I’ve talked to a lot of our team leaders. The players are focused on what they need to do. The rhetoric will not have anything to do with who’s the quarterback. That will obviously be decided on the field by how people execute, how they do their job,” Saban said, via AL.com’s Michael Casagrande.
Many are expecting Tagovailoa to be the team’s starter, believing he has higher upside than Hurts, as shown in the title game. Hurts, who is not transferring despite an offseason of rumors, should not be discounted. Alabama has gone 27-2 in his two seasons, which says a lot about his ability to win games.
Jalen Hurts dealt with some backlash over the weekend after he criticized the Alabama coaching staff for the way they have handled the team’s quarterback situation, and his mother wants to help set the record straight.
Hurts, who was benched in favor of Tua Tagovailoa during the national championship game, told the media on Saturday that neither Nick Saban nor other members of Alabama’s coaching staff asked him how he felt about the situation until it was too late. Hurts’ mother, Pamela, later took to Facebook to lash out against those who have bashed her son for speaking his mind.
“Wow ignorance is (bliss),” Pamela Hurts wrote in a post, via Justin Smith of TDAlabamaMag.com. “When has Jalen ever spoken to media about anything other than the team? When has he ever whined, pouted or talk about what ‘y’all’ don’t know takes place behind the scenes? There’s a reason why players aren’t allowed to speak to the media. Jalen spoke his truth, finally, after 3 years of being compliant and controlled. You have no idea what is and has been going on — and most likely, never will.
“Folks quick to speak highly on his character and demeanor, but know he is completely opposite of those accolades today. If you can turn on this young man today and not your president for any of his rhetoric, you were never with him to begin with.”
Given the way Tagovailoa led Alabama to a championship against Georgia, he has been the clear favorite to win the starting job heading into 2018. Despite that, Hurts apparently told Saban that he has no intention of transferring, which is a big change from what the QB’s father said several months ago.
Hurts seems to have an issue with Saban saying earlier in the offseason that he was unsure if the junior will be on the roster to start the season. If Hurts truly never intended to transfer, it does seem like there should have been better communication between him and Alabama’s coaches.
The Alabama Crimson Tide have a quarterback controversy on their hands, and have since last year’s national championship game. But one of the quarterbacks involved does not appear happy with how it has been handled.
Jalen Hurts, who was benched during the championship game in favor of Tua Tagovailoa, has been the subject of transfer rumors and chatter all summer. Speaking to the media on Saturday, Hurts said no coaches had talked to him about how he felt during the summer, and the attempts to address things with him now come too late.
Hurts also rebutted coach Nick Saban, who had said he wasn’t sure if Hurts would be on the roster when the season opened.
There’s a lot going on here. Saban has talked about an open competition for the starting quarterback job, but it has long been assumed that Tagovailoa would win that, potentially leading to Hurts transferring elsewhere. Saban ultimately announced Hurts planned to stay, but didn’t say so until late July, and added in the same breath that he encouraged both Hurts and Tagovailoa to keep the focus off themselves as they competed for the starting job.
Hurts clearly hasn’t done that, and he had a lot to say here. He doesn’t appear to be happy that he hasn’t been allowed to speak publicly about his feelings, nor is he pleased that no one on staff seemed to talk to him about what was on his mind. Obviously this is his retelling of events, but it seems to be an indication that Hurts has some grievances with how Alabama has handled the quarterback controversy and the rampant unaddressed speculation that has come along with it.
Jalen Hurts may not be the favorite to win the Alabama starting quarterback job heading into the 2018 season, but that does not mean the junior is going to leave the school where he enjoyed great success over the past two years.
With questions still swirling about whether Hurts will transfer if national championship game hero Tua Tagovailoa beats him out for the starting job, Nick Saban told ESPN’s Sage Steele on Tuesday that Hurts came to him earlier this month and assured him he is not going anywhere.
“Jalen actually came to me and said … ‘I am going to be here. I am going to be here. I came here to get an education. I graduate in December, and I’m going to be here,'” Saban said.
When Saban was asked about his QB situation back in April, he seemed far less certain of what Hurts was planning to do. Hurts’ father actually made some comments that indicated Jalen had every intention of transferring if he was not going to start, but it doesn’t sound like that will be the case.
Saban said Tuesday that the competition remains open, and he would not rule out both players having a role in Alabama’s offense. He also told both Hurts and Tagovailoa that they should make an effort to not have the focus of the offseason be on themselves.
“Both guys have proven that they’re capable of making plays that can help you win games in college, and if that’s the case, maybe there’s some reason to have a role for both players,” Saban said. “And if that’s the case, that’s what we’ll try to do.
“I’ve told both players, ‘You’ve gotta win the team, and everything you do to bring attention to yourself, or anybody even in your family that brings attention to yourself, you’re not doing yourself a service in trying to win the team.'”
If Tagovailoa hadn’t gotten an opportunity to play in the national championship game against Clemson, it sounds like Hurts wouldn’t have had to worry about losing his job heading into 2018. Tagovailoa’s ceiling seems to be a lot higher, but Saban won’t hesitate to award the job to Hurts if he performs better this summer.
Alabama is entering the 2018 season with two quarterbacks who are clearly worthy of being starters, and that puts them in a position that many teams cannot relate to. But do they have the best quarterback depth in the country? One QB from another program doesn’t seem to think so.
On Tuesday, Alabama Football’s official Twitter account shared some of last season’s highlights from Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa and said the duo headlines the “best QB room in the country.” Penn State backup quarterback Tommy Stevens had a very simple response.
Stevens, a redshirt junior, considered transferring from Penn State earlier this offseason but ultimately decided he will back up senior Trace McSorley for a third consecutive year.
“I did search around and look to see if there was a better place for me somewhere, and I talked to some schools,” he said previously, via Jordan James of 247Sports.com. “Ultimately, I know what I have here. I love Penn State. I love the relationships that I have here. And I love playing football with my best friends.
“I found out this is still the best place for me, and this is what I want to do moving forward.”
Stevens has been used in some offensive packages, while McSorley could potentially be an early-round draft pick next year if he has a good season. With Alabama, Hurts and Tagovailoa have both appeared in national championship games and won a title, so it’s hard to argue against them being the best QB duo in the country.
If Tagovailoa didn’t get a chance to shine in the national championship game last year, it sounds like there would be no debate for Stevens to weigh on in.
The Alabama Crimson Tide have two quarterbacks who could conceivably start next season, but Nick Saban isn’t currently thinking about how to accommodate both of them.
Saban, participating in a celebrity pro-am golf tournament on Wednesday, said he has not given any thought to finding a role for both Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts.
“No, I haven’t given it any thought right now,” Saban said, via Charlie Potter of 247 Sports. “We’ve got two guys competing at the position. I’m not going to speculate on things that may or may not happen. We have a lot of choices and decisions and things we have to make, so we’re not going to really answer questions that are hypothetical in nature, which you seem to love to ask.”
Saban said in March he could envision a scenario in which both quarterbacks play. He’s quite clearly not getting ahead of himself, though.