Alabama doesn’t mind signing a bunch of four- and five-star players at the same position every class. Nick Saban figures competition breeds improvement and that he can never have too much depth. Five national titles at Bama say he’s correct.
Quarterback’s a little bit different than other positions, though. Only one can play at a time, and with the FBS cap of 85 scholarships, the most common thing is for teams to keep four scholarship QBs. The Tide either don’t care about being normal, or they’re likely expecting someone to transfer between now and 2019.
If everything stays status quo, Bama’s QB situation in 2019 will be something.
The Tide already had all of these guys in the fold:
- Former four-star Jalen Hurts will be a senior. Alabama is 26-2 when he starts.
- Former five-star Tua Tagovailoa will be a junior. He won Bama the national title in January.
- Former high-three-star Mac Jones will be a redshirt sophomore. He hasn’t played a live down yet and has no clear path to starting at Alabama, but he’s been a spring 2018 darling.
And now, in an unusual move, they’ve added a 2018 quarterback commitment in late May. Layne Hatcher, a three-star former Arkansas State commit, pledged to the Tide on Friday.
Alabama’s also added two four-star 2019 verbal commitments over the last few. Verbals this early in the recruiting cycle only mean so much, but you tell me if these don’t sound solid:
- Four-star Taulia Tagovailoa, Tua’s little brother who plays with a bit more of a pro-style flavor.
- Four-star Paul Tyson, the great-grandson of a guy named Bear Bryant.
If Alabama didn’t lose anyone to transfer or other attrition, and if the two blue-chip commits with deep Alabama ties (not even counting the point that they both live in Alabama) didn’t go elsewhere, the Tide would hit 2019 with six scholarship QBs. Four would be blue-chips, which almost never happens. Spoiler: Bama is not going into a year with six scholarship QBs.
Of course, it’s looking more and more like a transfer or two is coming, with Hurts as the first prime candidate.
His dad told Bleacher Report in a story published just before the end of spring practice:
“Coach Saban’s job is to do what’s best for his team. I have no problem with that,” Averion Hurts said. “My job is to do what’s best for Jalen—and make no mistake, Jalen is a quarterback, and he wants to play quarterback. He loves Alabama, loves Coach Saban and everything about that place. But he wants to play, and he will play…”
Averion stops mid-sentence because the idea of his son not playing for Alabama isn’t one he takes lightly. What if Jalen doesn’t win the job, he is asked?
He shakes his head slowly, answers begrudgingly. “Well, he’d be the biggest free agent in college football history.”
Saban sounded unconcerned, but as the Tide’s elder statesman at the position, Hurts moving somewhere else would make sense if Tagovailoa won Bama’s starting job this year.
Still, Bama looks set to remain Bama.