2020 Position By Position: Crimson Tide Quarterbacks
We're 100 days from Alabama football returning against USC at AT&T Stadium to kick off the 2020 college football season. Now is as good a time as ever to to get more acquainted the next squad lead by head coach Nick Saban in pursuit of championship number 18.
Each week we'll go position by position, dissecting the Crimson Tide. We'll look at who will see a significant role in 2020, and who may have to wait his turn. While this series won't be a projection of the Crimson Tide depth chart, it is a good opportunity for Tide fans to familiarize themselves with where players are expected to contribute on the team.
We start with the quarterbacks, naturally. Many national pundits would have you believe this a position of major concern for the Crimson Tide. Maybe that's justified. Alabama fans saw one of the greatest players in school history leave the program on devastating injury.
After Tua Tagovailoa departed for the NFL, in steps Bryce Young as the newest prospect to compete for the starting job and lead the Crimson Tide into the future.
But wait! We can't forget the efforts of Mac Jones, who heads into the summer as the presumptive incumbent. The battle between the two was disrupted by the pandemic but will soon have its chance to play out.
Overall, Alabama's quarterback room is backed by legacy, but marred by so few scholarship players. Staying healthy at the quarterback position is just as critical as ever.
Mac Jones is the starting quarterback heading into the 2020 season. He'll no doubt take the first snap against the Trojans in Dallas September 5. Whether he finishes the season the starter is the big question.
Still, Jones proved his worth in relief for Tua Tagovailoa after his season-ending hip injury. Although Jones looked shaky in his first relief of Tagovailoa against Tennessee, he managed the game and allowed the defense to finish the Vols off.
Many fans are still critical of Jones, however. He did throw two game-breaking interceptions in the Iron Bowl, a game the Crimson Tide could very well had won if not for those two throws. And while those interceptions did cost Alabama a chance at the College Football Playoff, they were just two of the three he lost in 2019 on 141 passes.
Alabama fans were rightfully spoiled by Tagovailoa's near bout of perfection throwing the ball. But Jones has proven he isn't a scrub. In the four games he started he threw 13 touchdowns. Meaning in all the garbage time he saw, he threw just one.
Added on, he also completed 74% of his passes in those four games he started.
Regardless, Saban set the precedent three years ago when Jalen Hurts started the season over Tagovailoa. Is Bryce Young a more talented player? Probably. But Saban has shown he'll role with experience over talent every time.
What's not to love about Bryce Young? A five-star quarterback with impeccable character who broke countless records in one of the most competitive levels of high school football.
If you haven't caught up on Young, take this in: he scored 178 touchdowns in high school. 178! Even better, 152 of those were passing touchdowns.
Sure, I spelled out a laundry list of reasons why Alabama fans should be excited for Mac Jones, but the future is bright in Tuscaloosa with Bryce Young.
The thing is, Young didn't get a fair shot at the starting job because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As much studying as Young has presumably done on his own, he hasn't officially been on the field with his Crimson Tide teammates.
But don't worry. We'll all see plenty of Bryce Young. Don't be surprised when he takes his first snaps against USC, the team that desperately tried to keep him on the West Coast.
Hopefully there will be plenty of fans in the stands to see his first home snaps against Georgia State in the newly renovated Bryan-Denny Stadium September 12.
Ever the forgotten man, Paul Tyson is presumed to be the number three quarterback heading into the 2020 campaign.
Tyson has the tools. After all, you aren't named a top-10 player at your position and four-star prospect for no reason. He threw 69 touchdowns in 24 starts at Hewitt-Trussville High School.
Still, for Tyson, he'll continue to have to play the waiting game. As a redshirt freshman this season, we'll likely see him compete for a starting job his senior season with Jones and Young ahead of him.
Regardless, the whole school and fan base is rooting for Tyson. But even he knows, nothing is handed to you in football; even if you're Paul "Bear" Bryant's great-grandson.
There's an interesting mixture of legacy in the quarterback reserves. Redshirt sophomore Braxton Barker is the son of 1992 National Champion winning quarterback (and Tide 100.9 host) Jay Barker. Sophomore Jayden George is the son of Jeff George, who was drafted number one overall by the Indianapolis Colts in 1990 and went on to enjoy 15 years in the NFL.
They nor sophomore walk-on Stone Hallenbach are truly expected to see the field this season. However, all could be in play later down the road to compete for a starting job or a back up role.
All three have shown competitive attitudes and have created their own successes regardless of their legacies, just as Paul Tyson has. It will be a wait and see game for the trio of reserves though. It may be lost on the casual fan, but reserve quarterbacks are incredibly important to practice weeks leading into games.
Check back next week when we go Position by Position once again. With 93 days to go to Alabama football then, we'll look at the 2020 Crimson Tide running backs.