Before the 2017 college football season concluded with the University of Alabama defeating Georgia for a national championship, yours truly had conversations with multiple sources on the relationship between true freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and sophomore Jalen Hurts.
The general consensus was the two genuinely love and respect each other, and it first became known last April when Hurts referred to Tagovailoa and Mac Jones as his ‘little brothers.’
During Monday’s game, Hurts was seen encouraging the Hawaiian native through prayers and celebrating each scoring drive he had. Prior to facing Clemson for the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Tagovailoa told the media that he knows this is Hurts’ team and he’s simply fine with his role.
“You would think that with two highly-touted guys there would be a lot of animosity, but that is not the case with Jalen and Tua,” sources said during the year. “Whenever Tua makes a play, Jalen is the first to congratulate him and pass on advice and the vibe is shared on the other end.”
While he did not account for many turnovers (one interception) and has lost two games through two years as a starter, Hurts’ problems in being an effective downfield passer led to head coach Nick Saban pulling a gamble in the second half against the Bulldogs.
Tagovailoa made the move pay off with three touchdown passes in a 26-23 victory; however, it was the constant wisdom and support of Hurts that gave him confidence to complete the game-winning pass in overtime.
Despite not having the same spin on the football that Tagovailoa possesses, the freshman has been bothered by recent comments on the sophomore – concerning should Hurts transfer or switch to a different spot.
As the two have done throughout the year, Tagovailoa took to Twitter in support of his teammate and letting critics know that the Tide needed Hurts on this title run.
Tired of people not appreciating the fact that if this man led us to the National Championship. And for all the fans that are against Jalen, you against me too. You either WITH US or AGAINST US. Love you 2 🐐#BigBroLittleBro @JalenHurts pic.twitter.com/ExjHAB7yHh
— Tua Tagovailoa (@Tuaamann_) January 11, 2018
It remains to be seen if Hurts decides to stay or not, but seeing this kind of unity makes Nick Saban very excited for things to come. Alabama even had some current and a former position coach display their support of Tagovailoa’s stance on Twitter in his defense of the Texan.
— Jedrick Wills Jr.® (@JWills73) January 11, 2018
— Jalen Hurts (@JalenHurts) January 11, 2018
Awesome!! 13 is right. Why don't all u guys start to look at it like positive people and say "we wouldn't have the national championship without both of them! They did it together and not just on Monday, but their work all year together did it. " #17bc2+13 #RTR @espn @Tuaamann_ https://t.co/ibcjUSIh7b
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) January 12, 2018
In two seasons, Hurts has accumulated 6,670 yards offensively while being responsible for 61 touchdowns – ranking second all-time in school history behind AJ McCarron (80). He was the recipient of the Southeastern Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year award in 2016.