Jalen Hurts received some excellent recognition during the University of Alabama’s commencement ceremony on Saturday.
Hurts incredibly graduated midway through his junior year. When he walked across the stage to receive his diploma, the Crimson Tide quarterback received loud cheers and a standing ovation from many in attendance.
Standing ovation when he takes the field. Standing ovation when he walks the stage. Congrats + a big #RollTide to the legend himself, @JalenHurts #BamaGrad #WhereLegendsAreMade pic.twitter.com/aq6AnaHKqw
— The Univ. of Alabama (@UofAlabama) December 15, 2018
Though Hurts deserves the recognition just for his academic accomplishment, his decision to remain at Alabama rather than transfer, and his redemption in the SEC Championship Game probably led to the loud cheers.
Hurts is a model for how to handle adversity by persevering, being a great teammate, and shining when you get your moment. He is a champion both on and off the field.
H/T The Spun
Nick Saban broke character and showed true emotions after Alabama came back to beat Georgia in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday, and all it took was a storybook comeback.
Jalen Hurts entered the game for Alabama against Georgia in the fourth quarter after Tua Tagovailoa got hurt. All he did was lead the team on two touchdown drives to take the lead and win the game 35-28. It was a complete reversal of last season’s national championship game where Hurts was benched after struggling against the same opponent in the same building and Tua relieved him and led the team to victory in the second half.
Thinking about all that made Saban choke up in his postgame interview.
“I’m so proud of this guy for what he’s done this year, I can’t even tell you.”
Nick Saban got emotional when speaking about the heroics of Jalen Hurts. pic.twitter.com/mmY4HfoFqD
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 2, 2018
Hurts could have left Bama. He could have transferred. Saban could have lost faith in him. Instead, he stayed with the program, stuck with them, Saban played him regularly throughout the season, and it all paid off. What an incredible story and great example for how to handle adversity.
Jalen Hurts has gotten a lot less playing time this season than he did in 2017, which means he has had fewer opportunities to showcase himself to NFL teams. Despite that, Nick Saban still believes the junior is managing to boost his stock.
On his weekly radio show on Tide 102.9 FM Thursday, Saban spoke about Hurts’ decision to not transfer after Tua Tagovailoa took over the starting job. He spoke highly of Hurts and the strides he has made under new quarterbacks coach Dan Enos.
“To me, Jalen has made a lot of improvement as a quarterback this year even though he’s not the starter because he’s got a really good coach, we’ve a really good offensive system, and the very thing that he needed to improve on, he has improved on dramatically even though he’s not the starter,” Saban said, as transcribed by Mike Zenitz of AL.com. “That’s going to have a lot of value for him in his future, and I think a lot of people see that.”
That may be overly optimistic. Hurts has made the most of his opportunities this year with five touchdown passes compared to just one interception, but he has had fewer than 10 pass attempts in four of five games. In a passing NFL, teams are going to want as much tape as possible showcasing a quarterback’s accuracy, arm strength, decision-making, etc. in order to evaluate him.
Now that it is official that Hurts cannot take a redshirt year with Alabama, it seems likely that he will be a graduate transfer after the season. He has a better chance of boosting his draft stock elsewhere where he won’t have to play behind Tagovailoa. It goes without saying that Saban’s opinion on the topic is a bit biased.
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.
Jalen Hurts is in. Redshirt no longer a possibility
— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) September 29, 2018
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.
— Pat Smith (@patsmithradio) September 7, 2018
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.
Saban said the new redshirt rule won't factor into how he plays Jalen Hurts going forward. Said you can't pick and choose when you want to play a player.
— Marq Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) September 3, 2018
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.
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:
Disclaimer: this is the first scrimmage of camp, and the only practice I’ve seen. But from what I watched today, I’ll be shocked if Tua isn’t day 1 starter, and it isn’t close. Don’t expect an announcement prior to opening kickoff tho..
— Will Lowery (@jwlowery29) August 11, 2018
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.