TideSports College Football Preview

Returning starter: Jalen Hurts
Starter lost: None


Junior Jalen Hurts and sophomore Tua Tagovailoa will continue battle for the position until one player wins the team in one of college football’s biggest storylines. Hurts is 26-2 as a starter and threw just one interception last season on 255 attempts. Tagovailoa entered the second half of the national championship game and completed 14 of 24 attempts for 166 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Redshirt freshman Mac Jones is also part of what offensive coordinator Mike Locksley called a “great quarterback room.”


The only scholarship freshman at quarterback is Layne Hatcher. He was a late addition to the recruiting class. Hatcher arrives from Pulaski Academy in Arkansas. That program has won four straight state championships but is also known for ordinarily eschewing punting and nearly always onside kicking.


Hurts is on record as saying he’ll remain with the team during the season even if he loses the job. He can graduate after the fall semester, making him eligible to transfer without sitting out a year at that time. Tagovailoa hasn’t been asked about the prospect of transferring but said this summer he considered leaving if he didn’t play in the national title game.


The old adage that “If you have two quarterbacks, you have none” likely doesn’t fit for Alabama considering the resumes of both players competing for the starting job. Nick Saban also hasn’t ruled out the possibility of creating a role for both quarterbacks if that would benefit the team. Tagovailoa’s prodigious arm talent could be a deadly weapon for the Alabama offense, while Hurts’ consistency has helped the team remain steady even in difficult circumstances during the last two seasons. Whichever player ends up with the ball will be guiding one of college football’s most talented offenses with sky-high expectations.



Hurts and Tagovailoa combined to pass for 28 touchdowns with just three interceptions last season. They also combined to rush for 10 more touchdowns. The combined 38 touchdowns against three interceptions was the best ratio in the Nick Saban era at Alabama.


“You guys are totally fixed on somebody has to be has first team and somebody has to be second team. Tell me why. I’m asking you why. You can’t answer that. Then why? I’m asking why. Why do you think that way? If there’s people on our team that can contribute why would we not utilize their abilities to be able to contribute on our team in some form or fashion?”
Nick Saban

TideSports College Football Preview