Winning the 2018 college football national championship had to have been one of the most bittersweet moments in the young life of Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts.
On the one hand, he started at quarterback for a national championship-winning team, something very few people will ever do.
On the other hand, he wasn’t the finishing quarterback for the title-winning squad, and that can’t sit well with a competitor.
Despite being named the starter and playing reasonably well all season long, Hurts struggled mightily when it mattered the most.
He seemed sluggish and out of sync as the Crimson Tide limped to a 13-0 halftime deficit. That’s when head coach Nick Saban pulled the trigger on a quarterback change.
Freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa came off the bench for Saban and lit up Georgia.
Tagovailoa sparked Alabama, as the Crimson Tide stormed back from the halftime deficit to force overtime. After Georgia took a 23-20 lead in overtime, Tagovailoa did this:
One national championship and quarterback controversy later, it looks like Hurts is stinging more from his benching than he initially let on.
In an interview with Bleacher Report, Hurts’ father, Averion, shed some light on his son’s mindset.
“I told Jalen, you f—-d up, you opened the door and put yourself in this situation,” Averion said of Jalen’s poor first-half performance against Georgia. “Now it’s up to you to dig yourself out.”
Of note, Averion does not blame coach Saban for benching his son.
“Coach Saban’s job is to do what’s best for his team. I have no problem with that,” Averion said. “My job is to do what’s best for Jalen — and make no mistake, Jalen is a quarterback, and he wants to play quarterback. He loves Alabama, loves Coach Saban and everything about that place. But he wants to play, and he will play.”
That last sentence reportedly caused Averion to pause and contemplate a future in which his son isn’t on the Crimson Tide. When asked what would happen if Jalen didn’t win the starting job back from Tagovailoa, Averion dropped the bombshell.
“Well, he’d be the biggest free agent in college football history.”
Jalen Hurts, with still two years of eligibility left, could win quite a few games for a new team. His teammates also seem to think that him leaving could be in the cards.
“This whole thing about Jalen is going to be a backup or he’s going to give up, it’s all just completely bogus,” said Alabama running back Damien Harris. “Anyone who thinks he’s just going to sit back and take it clearly doesn’t know him.”
Saban has yet to formally commit to either Hurts or Tagovailoa as his starting quarterback for next season. The eagerly anticipated quarterback competition had to be postponed after Tagovailoa suffered a setback while recovering from his injured throwing hand. The Montgomery Adviser reported that Tagovailoa is not expected to play at all through the spring.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.