Back Jalen Hurts, a True Champion

Back To SEC

Jalen Hurts, a True Champion

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
Follow us at Twitter.com/SouthernPigskin.  Become a fan at the SouthernPigskin.com Facebook Page

Jalen Hurts was benched at halftime of the national championship game. Forget football, how Hurts responded in a lesson for life.

Jalen Hurts was benched at halftime of the national championship game, a move that would have frustrated any starting quarterback, much less one with a 25-2 record as starter and the best touchdown-to-interception ratio in the country. In fact, Hurts is the only signal caller this season with at least 800 rushing yards to complete over 60% of his passes. After an unproductive first half, however, he went from the spotlight to the sidelines as Tua Tagovailoa took over. Forget football, how Hurts responded in a lesson for life.

His recent struggles aside, Hurts remained directly engaged. He encouraged Tagovailoa and his peers, literally and figuratively standing tall through his posture and body language. When Tagovailoa threw a six-yard touchdown pass, Hurts was the first one to greet him. When Tagovailoa threw a costly interception, the same teammate was there. Hurts didn't stay out of the way after being taken out of the game, he was front and center for the Crimson Tide and their new quarterback.  

Tagovailoa was remarkable, a now-legend with his own place in history. Make no mistake about it, Hurts' leadership also played a very real role in Alabama's dramatic win.  

How Hurts reacted is a testament to who he is. Whether cheering from the bench or commenting in post-game interviews, there was an authenticity to all that Hurts did. Post-game, he talked with bright eyes and a big smile, heaping praise onto a player he has and will continue to compete against. Hurts was as into the moment as if he was in on the final play.  

Who knows what the future holds for Hurts or what his role, or anyone else's, will be moving forward. Monday night, though, he was more that just a quarterback, he was a champion; most of all, he was an example. From his first game ever, bursting onto the scene with highlight after highlight in a blowout win over USC, Hurts has found a way to make an impact. Albeit in a different way, the national championship game featured more of the same. 

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports