Alabama in the Pros

Patience paid off for Mac Jones at Alabama, but will it work for the Patriots?

Mac Jones throws a pass to John Metchie versus Georgia
Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

Alabama football had something special on campus in 2017.

The Crimson Tide had three competitive leaders at the quarterback position. Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, and Mac Jones each brought a different skill set to the team. All three were on Alabama’s national championship team that season, while Hurts and Tagovailoa saw action on the field. Tagovailoa came off the bench in the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship matchup versus Georgia in the second half and won the game in overtime.

Despite him replacing Hurts, it was the native Texan who guided the Tide to the stage.

Jones, a true freshman at the time, was a student of the game — soaking all the information.

Mac Jones, Jalen Hurts, and Tua Tagovailoa from 2017 game versus Tennessee

Mac Jones, Jalen Hurts, and Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama in 2017 season after a win over Tennessee/Photo comes via Twitter

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He learned behind Hurts and Tagovailoa, and he grew in patience. Jones got the opportunity to be developed while getting in action when he could.

This allowed him to deliver Alabama to a perfect season in 2020 as a first-year starter and set some records. Before hosting a youth football camp last week in Hoover, Ala., Hurts sat down with Rick Karle of WVTM 13 for an interview.

He spoke about how proud he is of Jones, and the excitement he has for him getting a chance in the NFL.

*Jalen Hurts talks on Mac Jones at the 9:00 mark

“The best way to learn is to watch,” Hurts said of Jones. “Mac had a very unique college career where he had to stay patient, and it worked out for him. And I am happy it did. He was able to watch me, Tua, go through that and get him some burn. When it was his time, he took off with it. Now, he has a great opportunity for his future.”

Hurts is going into his second year with the Philadelphia Eagles. He is excited about the season he could have, but will Jones’ patience pay off with the New England Patriots? The native Floridian enters training camp in a battle with Cam Newton. He excelled in rookie minicamp and mandatory minicamp; however, the latter part of this month has a new challenge.

His work ethic made him a legend at Alabama and Hurts believes it will make Jones great in the pros.

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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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