Thanks For Staying, Jalen

It has been two weeks since Alabama fans and football fans everywhere witnessed a Disney like a movie. Jalen Hurts came off the bench for an injured Tua Tagovailoa to lead the Crimson Tide to a come from behind victory. Ten months earlier in the same building, Tua replaced Jalen to lead Alabama to a national championship and now Jalen got his chance to play hero. In a time in college where athletes transfer due to playing time, Jalen Hurts stayed at Alabama and took on his role as backup quarterback.

There was no doubt that Jalen and Tua aren't friends and supporters of one another, however, it must have been difficult not being on the field as much as you wanted. Jalen handled this title the same way he had handled his time as the starting quarterback "calm, cool and collected". He supported his team and the team supported him. Each time Jalen entered to play in any game, the fans would give him a standing ovation. When Jalen decided to stay at Alabama for the season and burned a possible redshirt, the fans greeted Hurts the way he had been greeted while he was a starter.

Then on December 1st, 2018, the Alabama students erupted with support for Jalen when he was needed most. For someone to come in after being replaced and deliver an important victory shows how much Jalen Hurts loves his school but it also shows how much Alabama loves Jalen.

Dear Jalen,

You have come a long way since arriving at Alabama in 2016. To start out as the scout team quarterback to becoming the first true freshman to start under Nick Saban at Alabama, you brought a new dynamic to Alabama. You provided a spark in the offense and showed how the game was adapting. You were never phased. Being down by 21 points in your first SEC away game you brought the team back and now seniors in college were viewing an 18-year-old as the leader of this team. Even why times got tough you always found a way to stay positive and that was on display in the national championship game.

Everyone has their struggles and while it can be frustrating sometimes a team needs a spark. When Tua came in you did not throw a tantrum or yell but found ways to help and became his biggest fan. You were there to congratulate him and celebrate him and that did not change even when you became the backup quarterback. You were the first one to hug him after a touchdown and you always worked with him to find ways to improve. You showed college football how friendship and family come from football but also how it is important to remember after football.

The relationship you have with Tua goes deeper than the football field. Hearing that Tua's parents are grateful for you and pray for you helps people understand the connection and the outreach the two of you share is something people have started to look at. You stayed when things got tough. You could have taken the escape from Tuscaloosa and gone anywhere else but you didn't. You made an important decision and when you were needed the most you were there. You stayed because you wanted to improve and you knew that even though you might not have as much playing time that you were becoming a leader of this team. People looked up to you and when you took the field in Bryant Denny there no bigger supporters than the student section. You remind us to always stay strong when things get tough.

So, Jalen, the football analysts can say what they want about you as a quarterback but as a player, you have shown your resiliency. You have shown that your heart is in the sport and you embrace the adversity. The game of football is more than just the game itself but the relationships created. Thank you for reminding the community about the hard work needed to succeed. You have shown that you can be the biggest supporter but you can also be a superhero when needed. There are only a few people like you in this world Jalen and Alabama is lucky to have you.

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