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Which Former Alabama Quarterback is Going to Have the Best 2021 Season?

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Jalen Hurts? Tua Tagovailoa? Mac Jones? And you just THOUGHT we were done arguing about these guys now that they’ve all graduated

In 1965, Joe Namath was drafted 12th overall out of Alabama. 10 years later, Richard Todd was drafted 2nd overall. From 1988 until 2019, the Tide only had 4 QBs drafted at all. Jay Barker, Greg McElroy, and A.J. McCarron were all late picks, and Brodie Croyle managed to sneak into the 3rd round. For as dominant as Alabama was for the second half of that 30 year stretch, having an actual functioning passer was rarely part of the equation for even Nick Saban’s many championship teams.

In August of 2017, all of that changed. Alabama rolled into the season with returning SEC Offensive Player of the Year in sophomore QB Jalen Hurts as the starter. Despite his successful freshman season, many fans were just as excited about the five-star freshman from Hawaii, Tua Tagovailoa. And then backing them both up was a scrawny 3-star freshman in Mac Jones.

4 seasons later, and the three combined for 3 Heisman finalist appearances, a Maxwell Award, a Unitas Award, two All-American nominations, a Davey O’Brien, and a smattering of other conference and national awards. All three got to start in a National Championship game, and all have since been drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft.

Talk about a change in the Tide.

Of course, with all that success came endless arguing among fans on message boards about which guy was “best.” The Tua-Jalen saga of 2017 and into the 2018 offseason was one for the ages. And Mac Jones coming in 2020 to put together a dominant undefeated year really brought out some retroactive internet hot takes regarding the two before him.

Oh, you thought we were going to let those arguments finally die out with all three players now in the pros?

Well, how about we keep this going a little longer, and let you, the readers, decide: Who is the best Alabama QB (since 2017)?

Who had the best college career?

Jalen Hurts- While Tua didn’t get a full two seasons as a starter and Mac only got one, Jalen Hurts had three years as a starter for a playoff team, and did it on two different teams and offenses. He helped bring two different squads to the national championship with his play, and finished his career completing 65% of his passes for 9477 yards and 80 touchdowns to 20 interceptions while adding 3274 yards and 43 more touchdowns as a rusher.

Tua Tagovailoa- The phenom from Hawaii became an instant all-time college football legend when he took over for Hurts at halftime of the 2017 National Championship and dug Alabama out of a deficit for a heart-stopping overtime win. In the following season in his first go as a starter, Tua set all kinds of passing records on his way to winning the Maxwell and Walter Camp awards. Unfortunately, a total team collapse in the final kept him from adding back-to-back national championship wins to his resume. He came back in 2019 on an even better statistical pace than 2018, but wound up with his season cut short by a horrific hip injury.

Tua finished his career completing 69% of his passes for 7442 yards and 87 touchdowns to only 11 interceptions.

Mac Jones- The forgotten man for years behind the first two, Mac Jones was a consistent presence on the depth chart who seemed to gain more and more praise behind the scenes every year. He was forced into action unexpectedly in 2019 when Tua was injured, and, though he made mistakes, he played quite well. In 2020, Jones took the reigns as the starter and only went on to blast through an undefeated season against an all-SEC schedule and scoring 49 points per game. Jones won the National Championship with a 50-point blowout, and finished the season completing a ridiculous 77% of his passes for 4500 yards and 41 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions.

So, now’s your chance to vote. “Best” is a word that people will argue about forever. Does it mean the most talented player? Or the most accomplishments? I’ll leave it up to you to define “best” for yourself, and make your vote.

Poll

Which Alabama QB was the best in college?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Jalen Hurts
    (88 votes)
  • 30%
    Tua Tagovailoa
    (235 votes)
  • 58%
    Mac Jones
    (455 votes)
778 votes total Vote Now

Of course, these guys are only just now beginning the most important part of the football careers. The next question will be: Which player has the best 2021 season?

Jalen Hurts- Hurts is slated to start for the Philadelphia Eagles after they were historically bad on offense with Carson Wentz last year. They’ve got a brand new coaching staff and drafted Heisman-winning receiver DeVonta Smith to give Hurts at least one serviceable pass-catcher on the team.

Tua Tagovailoa- A rocky start with the Dolphins in 2020 saw Tua take over for the veteran Fitzpatrick in a neutered offense, do okay-ish, and get benched anytime the Dolphins got nervous about the outcome of the game. This season, they’re going all in on Tua to be the full time starter and added Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle as dangerous receiving weapons to go along with Devonte Parker and uber-athlete tight end Mike Gesicki.

Mac Jones- At this point, Mac is still the back-up to Cam Newton for the New England Patriots. Cam has never really felt like the long term answer for Bill Belichick, and the results in 2020 were less than encouraging, so we very well could see Mac sooner rather than later. The Pats had a woeful receiver room last season, but they did go out and spend a bunch of money on two of the top tight ends in the game in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.

So, again, make your own definition for “best,” and make your vote count.

Poll

Who will have the best 2021 season?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Jalen Hurts
    (120 votes)
  • 70%
    Tua Tagovailoa
    (508 votes)
  • 13%
    Mac Jones
    (94 votes)
722 votes total Vote Now

Finally, here’s the most important question to answer. This one transcends many immediate circumstances in favor of projecting pure talent. Who will be the best in the NFL? Maybe you view a 12-year middling starter to have a better career than someone who wins MVP one year and is out of the league 3 seasons later? Whatever criteria you choose, make your vote now:

Poll

Who will be the best QB in the NFL?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Jalen Hurts
    (44 votes)
  • 29%
    Tua Tagovailoa
    (205 votes)
  • 64%
    Mac Jones
    (445 votes)
694 votes total Vote Now

Roll Tide!