Alabama’s spring game showed more favor toward Tua Tagovailoa (300-yard passing game, three touchdowns) than Mac Jones, but both freshmen quarterbacks have navigated smoothly from summer workouts to fall camp.
While the defense proved dominant in the Crimson Tide’s first scrimmage, the young bloods rose to the occasion last week.
Before signing in Alabama’s top-rated 2017 class, Tagovailoa was a superstar at St. Louis High School in Ewa Beach, Hawaii. He was named Most Valuable Player in the Elite 11 quarterback competition and earned the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Hawaii in 2016.
Garnering attention as a five-star prospect and carrying the nation’s top ranking for dual-threat signal callers, Tagovailoa ended his tenure with 8,158 passing yards – the most in Hawaii high school football history.
Despite head coach Nick Saban standing firm on sophomore Jalen Hurts as the starter, he’s been very pleased with the talented freshman’s progress.
“Tua had a good day today,” Saban said. “He probably had a few more opportunities and he made some explosive plays.”
It’s rare when a school signs two Elite 11 guys in the same recruiting class; nevertheless, Jones came to the Crimson Tide with Tagovailoa. Jones, a four-star, was a pro-style quarterback from one of the nation’s top private schools in Florida.
He guided The Bolles School to a Class 4A state championship in his senior year, accounting for 1,532 passing yards and 29 touchdowns.
“We have to sort of say, who are really getting ready to here,” Saban said.
“We have our first quarterback, Jalen. And then we have to get somebody else ready to play as a backup. And then we have to bring Mac along the best we can and he’s made good progress.”
With both players moving forward, Alabama has a strong quarterback room heading into its season opener against Florida State at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2.