Opinion | Mac Jones was the answer

He was patient. He waited. And when the time came, every Alabama fan reaped the rewards.

Mac+Jones+passes+the+torch+to+freshman+Bryce+Young+during+the+College+Football+Playoff+National+Championship+on+Jan.+11.

Hannah Saad | @hannah_saad21

Mac Jones passes the torch to freshman Bryce Young during the College Football Playoff National Championship on Jan. 11.

Just over two weeks ago, the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes to win the school’s 18th football national title. When looking back on this season, a few things stand out. 

Nick Saban won his seventh national championship, his sixth with Alabama, passing Paul “Bear” Bryant for the all-time record. Devonta Smith won the Heisman trophy, the first wide receiver to do so since 1991 and the third-ever Alabama player to bring home the trophy. Each of these is an immense personal accomplishment. But the contributions of one supporting character stands out through it all. That man is Mac Jones.

The Jacksonville native had a progression similar to former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron. Both came in as scrawny, immature kids with raw talent. Both left as Heisman finalists and national champions.

To whomever skips out on Mac Jones come April: you will eventually regret that decision.”

— Austin Hannon

But for all of McCarron’s undeniable talent, there’s something about Jones that makes him special. In this day and age, young talented stars tend to leave their program if they feel like things may not work out in their favor. Jones sat behind both Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa, two Heisman finalists themselves, and would not quit. He was determined to quarterback the Alabama Crimson Tide. Even this season, when freshman Bryce Young came in, some fans believed Young should’ve been the starter. Jones kept working. And when he earned the starting job from Saban, he never looked back.

The campaign that Mac Jones put together in 2020 was truly phenomenal. With spring practices being cut short and COVID-19 making even the simplest things difficult, it would’ve been reasonable for Jones to not perform as well when the season rolled around. The opposite happened. 

Jones put together one of the greatest statistical seasons ever for a quarterback, even while facing an unprecedented conference-only season. The Crimson Tide faced the top 11 teams in the conference, only missing bottom-dwellers South Carolina and Vanderbilt. Jones finished with 4,500 yards and 42 touchdowns, throwing only four interceptions. Oh, and he finished with a completion percentage of over 77% and the best quarterback rating in the history of the sport. The kid that came into Tuscaloosa at 180 pounds, the kid who was assumed to be a career backup at the Capstone, is now the best quarterback to ever play at the University and a projected first-round NFL draft selection. How about that for a story?

After another sensational season, we will be losing a batch of players to the NFL draft. Unlike LSU, losing players to the NFL doesn’t affect us much. We rebuild and reload. 

To whomever skips out on Mac Jones come April: you will eventually regret that decision. I said it in my column in September, and I will say it again. Mac Jones is the answer. Mac Jones was the answer. And Mac Jones will be the answer for a very lucky NFL franchise three months from now. 

Thank you, Mac Jones. Roll Tide.