Tua: Jalen Hurts Had A Message For Me

Before transferring to Oklahoma, Hurts pulled Tagovailoa aside for a chat – about a lot of things

Zach Gelb
April 15, 2019 - 11:06 am
Jalen Hurts Tua Alabama

USA Today Images


Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa comprised the best quarterback depth chart in the country over the last two seasons, with each rescuing the other in high-profile games. Before transferring to Oklahoma, though, Hurts had a message for Tagovailoa.

“A pretty unique thing,” Tagovailoa said on The Zach Gelb Show. “Before he left Alabama to go to Oklahoma, he kind of pulled me to the side and he just told me, ‘I’ve seen the look in your eyes. I had that same look. I had that same feeling of losing in the national championship.’ He said, ‘For it, you’re always going to have that in your back pocket – and you’re going to be better for it.’”

Tagovailoa threw for 3,966 yards and scored 48 touchdowns (43 pass, five rush) this past season and finished second in the Heisman Trophy race. Alabama started 14-0 but lost, 44-16, to Clemson in the national championship.

“We talk,” Tagovailoa said of Hurts. “He tells me he hopes to see me in the playoffs and whatnot. He wants me to continue to do what I’m doing, and he said he’s going to go to Oklahoma and continue to do what he’s going to do. So just a lot of love, a lot of support for Jalen – not only with me, but with the fans here still. It’s awesome.”

Tagovailoa injured his ankle in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia, but Hurts saved the day for the Tide. Tagovailoa, though, needed surgery and wasn’t 100 percent for the College Football Playoff.

“It was definitely hurting against Oklahoma and it was hurting against Clemson, but both aren’t excuses as to why we won, as to why we lost,” he said. “Just got to continue to get better. . . . My health is definitely a lot better now. As I look back at it, how it was before those two playoff games, I can only look at it is as a positive. We have a saying around here: It didn’t happen to me; it happened for me. There’s always a reason for everything. I’m just glad that that stage is over with and we’re gradually continuing to get better.”

Alabama will have Tagovailoa for at least one more season, even though some analysts believe he’s ready for the NFL. Prospects, however, must be three years removed from high school before declaring for the Draft.

“I honestly think that is a good rule,” Tagovailoa said. “When you go to the NFL, you’re playing against grown men. This isn’t something that you need to take lightly. You got to take into consideration that it’s a job. It’s a job when you go to the NFL. Just being able to stay in college for another year, for me being able to hear all these speakers come and talk to us about how to be accountable for your money, how to be accountable in things you do – you learn so many lessons before you even reach that stage. When things do happen, you’ve heard it from other guys. You have contacts to go to. Just little things like that.”

Former Alabama players have told Tagovailoa that there is no comparison between college and the NFL.

“They say that you can’t compare the two,” he said. “College is definitely a lot different than the NFL in all aspects – in every aspect. So I think the three years is fine with me.”

Click below to listen to Tagovailoa’s interview in its entirety.