If the story had been written for a Hollywood movie, it would have been rejected as completely unbelievable. But Alabama backup quarterback Jalen Hurts showed Saturday night what it means to fight through adversity and doubt to come back as a winner when his team needed him. In doing so, he showed the best of what sports can teach all of us.
Just 11 months ago, Hurts was on top of the college football world. He was 26-2 as a two-year starter at quarterback for Alabama. He had brought the Crimson Tide to the national championship game against Georgia, but by halftime, it was clear that he wasn’t getting the job done. Coach Nick Saban started relatively untested freshman Tua Tagovailoa in the second half when Hurts couldn’t generate any offense. From the sideline, Hurts enthusiastically supported his teammates and earned respect from a lot of people — including me — as he watched Tagovailoa lead a comeback win in overtime for the national championship.
During the offseason, there was a lot of buzz about who would start at quarterback for Alabama this year. Hurts and Tagovailoa competed during spring practice and pre-season practice. To the surprise of no one, Tagovailoa won the starting job. He has been the most dominant player in the college game this year and has been considered the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy most of the year.
It had to have been humiliating for Hurts to see a new kid get all the glory he had received at Alabama for two years.