Tua, Jalen, and Mac Named to Top 60 QBs of 2000s
ESPNs Bill Connelly ranked the top 60 college quarterbacks of the 2000s, featuring three former Tide signal callers in his rankings. Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones, and Jalen Hurts made the list with Tagovailoa coming in ranked highest at 19 and Hurts and Jones coming in at 23 and 35.
The three quarterbacks combined to throw for over 19,000 yards and 191 touchdowns in their time in Tuscaloosa, earning their spots on this list. While the former Tide quarterbacks' positions in the rankings may be questionable, most notably Tagovailoa coming in at just 19, the trio undoubtedly belongs on the list.
In his time under center for the Crimson Tide, Tagovailoa helped usher in a new era of offense in Tuscaloosa. Gone were the days of defensive showdowns, replaced with shootouts and high volume scoring.
Tagovailoa led the Tide to their 17th national championship in his freshman season, stepping in to relieve Jalen Hurts against Georgia. In his sophomore year, he led the Tide to a 14-1 record before falling to Clemson in the national championship, and was named a Heisman finalist, losing out to Kyler Murray.
In 2019, Tagovailoa's final season at Alabama, his year was cut short after suffering a severe hip injury against Mississippi State late in week 10. In three seasons, Tagovailoa cemented his name in Alabama record books throwing for 7,442 yards and 87 touchdowns which rank third and first all-time.
After a long injury recovery, Tagovailoa was taken fifth overall in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, earning a starting role by week eight.
Jalen Hurts, precursor to Tagovailoa, ignited Alabama's offense and was a crucial piece in their shift to a more offensive focus. Hurts gave Alabama their best mobile quarterback in program history, and opened the offense up in a way no other quarterback had done before.
Hurts stepped into the spotlight in the first game of his true freshman season against USC and showed out, leading Alabama to a massive win over the Trojans. He led Alabama to the national championship game where they fell to Clemson on a last second touchdown from Deshaun Watson, another member of the list.
2017 saw Hurts benched in favor of the emerging Tagovailoa, but Hurts remained steady, sticking around for the season and eventually helping the Tide out of a jam in the SEC championship.
After sticking around for an extra year to sit behind Tagovailoa and soak up as much learning as he could from the program, Hurts took his talents to Oklahoma where he blossomed into a Heisman finalist in 2019.
Hurts entered the 2020 draft as a projected late round prospect by many but was taken in the second round by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 53rd pick.
Mac Jones, the least flashy of the trio of former Tide quarterbacks, may have put up the most impressive single season of all. Jones took over as the starter in 2019 following Tagovailoa's injury, throwing for 687 yards and 10 touchdowns in three starts.
After playing the role of backup for years, Jones finally got his shot in 2020 and took complete advantage of it. Jones led the Tide to their first undefeated championship season since Saban's first with Alabama in 2009. Through 13 games, Jones threw for an Alabama single-season record 4,500 yards and added 41 touchdowns.
Jones was named a Heisman finalist in 2020 and earned the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award, Davey O'Brien award, and was a consensus All-American.
With the 2021 NFL Draft approaching, draft analysts are beginning to come around on Jones. Recently, Mel Kiper, Jr. gave high praise for the Jacksonville native, projecting him eighth overall to the Panthers in his latest mock.
Quarterback is a position that doesn't get brought up much when discussing Alabama, but having three of the top 60 QBs since 2000 within the last five years on its roster is an impressive feat. The next man up for Alabama looks to be Bryce Young, and he has stiff competition to live up to.
2021 Alabama Crimson Tide Record Book