No one expected the top-ranked Crimson Tide’s freshman quarterback to fumble so many times; but fortunately for him, each time he has fallen, Jalen has bounced back stronger than ever. This early in his college career, no one is ready to make any drastic pronunciations about Jalen’s future, not when the NFL betting lines seem so favorable for him.
Coach Nick Saban recently expressed his support for the 18-year-old, despite his mistakes. You cannot help but commend the young player for his mental fortitude. Jalen has refused to crack under pressure, this despite leading the defending national champions on more than one occasion.
You can never tell what a player is made of until he faces the fire, and Jalen has faced the fire, withstood the pressure and has come out at the end all the better for it. Every test Jalen has faced so far he has passed, and there have been quite a number of rough patches along the way.
He probably surprised many skeptics when he bounced back from his initial play off the bench in the opening game against Southern California; he passed and rushed for a pair of touchdowns in the second half, more than proving his mettle.
That isn’t to say that Jalen single-handedly earned the Tide their win; there were a lot of big plays that helped win the night for the tide. The special teams and the defense really put in the work.
However, Jalen was also impressive; you need only look at his figures (158 passing yards, 146 rushing yards) to realize that he definitely brought a lot to the team. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound player has every physical tool necessary to succeed in the long run.
Saban has not had as prolific a running quarterback as Jalen in the last decade that he has spent at Alabama; Jalen has run for 276 yards and 3 touchdowns through five games, and one cannot forget the fact that he passed for 7 touchdowns against one interception.
Trevor Knight gave Arkansas a challenge; running for 157 yards and 2 long touchdowns, his mobility became a nightmare for Arkansas, and now they have to deal with Hurts whose capabilities might present even more of a threat.
The Arkansas Coach Paul Rhoads admitted that Jalen was an outstanding quarterback. He is big, strong and more than worth all the hype. Arkansas will have to watch out for his deceptive speed.
You never truly realize just how fast Jalen is going until you face him on the field. Arkansas players will most likely struggle to catch him. The next time Jalen plays, he will have the benefit of having ArDarius Stewart on the field.
Steward sat the last two games out because of a knee injury but he should return in time for the game against the Razorbacks.
It will be interesting to see how Jalen’s superiors choose to handle him. The departure of Blake Barnett created some tension for the Tide, with many calling for the coach to limit Jalen’s exposure to injury risks.
Saban, however, emphasized that fears about injury risks were not a priority for him at the present.