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Jalen Hurts plays big, ditches redshirt and received much love from UA fans

Marvin Gentry - USA TODAY Sports

Pamela and Averion Hurts (Sr.) brought their children up on three critical values: mental toughness, high character and responsibility. Their son and third-year quarterback at the University of Alabama, Jalen Hurts, is the perfect embodiment of all three. 

Nick Saban talks so much about “winning the team,” however, the best way to earn the trust of your peers is being there with them. After all the hype and speculation of linking Hurts to the new redshirt rule, the junior put it all to rest on Saturday as he took the field for his fifth game. 

In a season where Tua Tagovailoa is dishing out ungodly numbers, a boisterous cheer echoed through Bryant-Denny Stadium for Hurts. He could have left Tuscaloosa to be a starter somewhere else, which would be the popular route, but there is something inside the native Texan that has caused him to understand the phrase: “Life is bigger than football.” 

Hurts took the field for teammates, fans, and in return, he has showcased the biggest improvement in the passing game. Under Dan Enos, he has gotten better with pocket presence, he’s leading receivers with accurate throws and is having fun in becoming a complete player. 

Three of Hurts’ four completions (six attempts) went for 20 yards or more – including a 54-yard connection to wide receiver Henry Ruggs III for a score in the second quarter. He took a shot after letting the ball go, but delivered a strike to the crafty sophomore target in stride. 

If nothing else, Hurts wants another opportunity to help Alabama win another national championship while putting together quality tape for the school he may go to next season. Following the win over Louisiana, Saban began his presser on complimenting the professionalism of his backup quarterback and then dove into his performance. 

“He made some really good throws,” Saban said of Hurts. 

“He stuck in the pocket, he read the coverages, made some really good play and that’s one of the things he realized because of our offense and the job Mike’s [Locksley] doing and having Dan Enos as the quarterbacks’ coach can really continue to help his development for the future.” 

In reflecting back on Hurts being here for his teammates, senior wide out Derek Kief delivered the biggest praise to his quarterback. Kief, who a blocked punt in Saturday’s 56-14 win, was the one who caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Hurts in the Tide’s 2016 spring game. 

“As a man, he displays everything like a man should want to be,” Kief said of Hurts. 

On the heels of setting a physical tone in the running game, offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher and running back Josh Jacobs were made available for player interviews.  

Both carried the same tune of respect for Hurts – lauding and valuing how much he places his teammates and coaches above himself. While most thought Saban was carelessly handling the situation at quarterback, he has beautifully been able to keep the entire room close together. 

Hurts says no the redshirt and the Tide continues to roll.

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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