Jalen Hurts is coming off quite an impressive freshman season for Alabama, but an incoming 5-star freshman has gotten a lot of attention in Tuscaloosa.
Tua Tagovailoa, the 6-foot-1, 212-pound dual-threat quarterback out of Saint Louis School in Honolulu, has shown great potential while competing against Hurts in the spring. It all culminated with an A-Day performance that saw Tagovailoa go 17-of-29 for 313 yards and 3 TDs, albeit against the second-string defense.
With all the speculation of a quarterback controversy brewing, Nick Saban tried to nip it in the bud in a story by CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd on Wednesday.
Saban was asked whether the position battle would continue through August.
“I’ve never said anything about it being a quarterback battle. I’m not going to say anything about it being a quarterback battle now,” Saban said. “We have a quarterback who played really well and was SEC Player of the Year last year. I’m not saying he can’t be beat out. I’m not saying the players here have an opportunity to beat him out. But that’s the case at every position.”
So Saban was clearly trying to bring the hype down to earth, but he still didn’t rule out the possibility of Tagovailoa winning the starting job, which is still significant considering the season Hurts had in leading the Crimson Tide to the national championship game.
Tagovailoa was the No. 1-rated dual-threat QB and No. 32 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, according to 247Sports’ composite ranking.
Hurts was responsible for 36 touchdowns (23 passing, 13 rushing) to surpass Blake Sims’ school record of 35 in 2014. He nearly topped Sims’ mark for total offense in a season, finishing with 3,734 yards. Sims had 3,837 yards in 2014.
Hurts undoubtedly showcased what he could do with his legs, breaking the school’s single-season rushing record by a QB with 954 yards.
Recently, former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin made headlines when he predicted that Tagovailoa would at least see the field as a true freshman in 2017, while also saying he’s “a lot more trained” than Hurts out of high school. He also compared Tagovailoa to a QB in the NFL Hall of Fame.
“Best comparison I think would probably be, watching him in high school, probably Steve Young,” Kiffin said. “A kind of smooth release like that. Not super fast, but really quick feet and a really quick release.”