From the moment he became the starting quarterback in 2016 to after losing the job to Tua Tagovailoa, much has been made about the psyche of Jalen Hurts.
Articles were written, rumors of a transfer dropped into the mix, and even reports on him accepting a redshirt made it public; nevertheless, the junior signal caller and native Texan has remained true to the University of Alabama. He did not leave the program. He did not accept a redshirt. And as a matter of fact, he is improving as a passer under first-year assistant, Dan Enos.
Despite what has been said of Hurts – both warranted and unwarranted – one piece of audio screams louder than the rest and it comes from the father of Tagovailoa.
Rick Karle, a sports reporter for WBRC (Fox 6 affiliate), sat down with Galu Tagovailoa to discuss Hurts and from what was gathered, the Polynesian family not only loves him but is grateful toward him and the genuine relationship that he has with their son.
“My family prays for Jalen every day.”
— Rick Karle (@RickKarle) September 25, 2018
“Jalen is a special kid,” Tagovailoa said to Karle. “Jalen took Tua in as his brother and it hurts me to hear and see how people react to Jalen. This kid has been special to this state. As a father, I know how it feels and I could just imagine going through this with my son. It kills me to see this. We pray for Jalen. We pray for the family. I tell Tua, ‘you have to hold tight to Jalen. That is your guy.’ Just because you are the starter, nothing has changed. When we see Jalen come in, I’m stoked. I am happy for him. I want to see him succeed. He’s been good. He took this team to two national championship games and that cannot be taken away from him.”
Hearing this from Tagovailoa makes you not only enjoy Tua even more, but it also gives you a fresh perspective on how important Hurts is to the team. He may not be the elite level quarterback that Tagovailoa is; however, he is willing to do everything possible to help the team and prepare the native Hawaiian for each matchup.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban said all summer that his plan was to play both guys and it has worked thus far, regardless of the criticism.
While Tagovailoa is positioning himself for the Heisman Trophy, Hurts is having his best passing season by far as a backup. At some point, the Tide will need for Hurts to come in and deliver a marquee play at a critical moment and he’ll be prepared. For now, he continues to simply be all this team needs in order to improve.