It wasn't until approximately 18 months later - after OR secured and then lost the commitment of four-star quarterback Ryan Kelley and Tagovailoa committed to Alabama - that Frost and OR coach Mark Helfrich deemed Tagovailoa worthy of a scholarship. The five-star lefty from Hawaii delivered in a big way, threading a fourth-down pass to Calvin Ridley for a tying touchdown late and then leading a drive for a potential winning field goal.
Point being, Saban didn't have to make that move.
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban benched Hurts on Monday after he completed just 3-of-8 passes for 21 yards for Alabama. And I want to take a poll of the hundred-and-whatever-30 coaches out there - head coaches - how many of them would have given anything to have him on their team? I think you forget that we scored on fourth down, missed a field goal to win, and then got sacked before we made a big play to win the game.
"I'm saying what's going to be unique about this situation?"
His poised yet powerful style of play is what his high school coach admired most about him during his years as a quarterback at Saint Louis School in Honolulu. "Stay with the plan and those who got us here".
Tua faced off with Georgia true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm in the national title game. "But we were able to pull it out, so Roll Tide".
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Jalen Hurts ran for a career-best 154 yards and two touchdowns while throwing for another score as Alabama dominated Fresno State 41-10 in the Tide's home opener. Granted, it was bad coverage by Georgia's deep safety.
Tagovailoa was brilliant at times, though he had a few freshman moments.
It set the stage for a quarterback competition between Tagovailoa and Hurts, who is 26-2 as a starter and has helped Alabama make two title game appearances.
This stunning finish, particularly how it unfolded, ends any discussion about Saban's place in the college football coaching pantheon. This year, he started every game en route to Alabama winning the whole thing. Only Joe Paterno (86) and Bobby Bowden (82) have more.
"If you look at the Sugar Bowl, you could kind of see on the sidelines some coaches and players, knowing people in that building, they were pushing for Tua in the Sugar Bowl". Bryant coached 38 years at four schools, compiling a.780 win percentage (323-85-17).
As for his own legacy, Saban refused to rank himself even with Bryant.
Alabama stormed back from a 13-0 halftime deficit to beat the Bulldogs 26-23 in overtime and secure the program's fifth national championship in the past nine seasons - the shortest span to win five titles for any program in college football's modern era. "He did a good job, made some plays in the passing game".