With Tua Tagovailoa now in the NFL, the Alabama starting quarterback job almost surely belongs to Mac Jones, who played well when Tua was hurt in 2019. Here are two props available to wager at Mybookie on Jones’ Heisman Trophy chances and Alabama’s 2020 college football season – assuming there is one – and an overview.
Mac Jones Heisman Trophy Odds & Analysis For 2020 Season
Jones played high school football at Jacksonville (Fla.) Bolles, a powerhouse in the Sunshine State. He was a three-star recruit in the Class of 2017 and originally committed to Kentucky. However, when Jones took a second trip to Alabama and was offered a scholarship by Nick Saban, he flipped. The dismissal of Kentucky offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, who served as his primary recruiter, didn’t do the Wildcats any favors.
“Coach Saban likes to take his time with quarterbacks. We’d be in contact a lot with like a weekly phone call,” Jones said back then. “It took some time on both of our ends, because he wants to move slower with quarterbacks and I’m over here still committed and trying to figure out what I want to do. Saban always said he wanted me but things really clicked on this last visit. When he presented the opportunity, it took like two seconds to say ‘yes’. All the coaches were really excited.”
Jones redshirted in 2017 with the Tide as they had Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa. In 2018, still behind Tua and Hurts, Jones appeared in 14 of the Crimson Tide’s 15 games, mostly as a holder on special teams. Jones did put his name in the school record books with a 94-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Waddle, the second-longest in school history, in a win against Louisiana-Lafayette.
That TD pass tied Freddie Kitchens’ 94-yard touchdown toss to Michael Vaughn in the 1996 SEC Championship against Florida. But Bama lost that game. Only AJ McCarron’s 99-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper in the 2013 Iron Bowl was longer, but Bama also lost there.
Last year, Jones also was behind Tua but then Tagovailoa got hurt in a mid-November win over Mississippi State and Jones started the rest of the way. In the wild Iron Bowl loss to Auburn, Jones completed 26-of-39 passes for 335 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He
showed off toughness and largely looked poised — but also had both picks returned for touchdowns. That defeat eliminated Alabama from playoff contention.
In the Citrus Bowl win over Michigan, Jones completed 16-of-25 passes for 327 yards and three touchdowns. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Jones hit Jerry Jeudy for an 85-yard touchdown pass about a minute into the game and would toss scores to Devonta Smith and Miller Forristall in the third and fourth quarters.
Overall, Jones played in 12 games with four starts (3-1 record) and finished 97-of-141, totaling 1,503 yards to go with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. He added a touchdown on the ground. Jones was strong on throws behind-the-line of scrimmage and on attempts deeper down the field, on throws from 0-10 yards, he completed just 58 percent of his throws for 308 yards, two TDs and two picks.
However, Jones did perform well on extended plays last year. Among quarterbacks with at least 150 dropbacks, he ranked tied for No. 20 with a 58.8 completion percentage on passes which took 2.5 or more seconds to develop. While he isn’t thought of as a scrambler, Jones also has the ability to make plays with his feet as he was a Wing-T quarterback in high school.
Jones will have to beat out touted freshman recruit Bryce Young in fall camp, but won’t have to worry about Tua’s younger brother Taulia in the competition. He decided to transfer to Maryland. While Taulia appeared in five games as a freshman at Alabama last season, it was strictly during mop-up time. Current Maryland coach Mike Locksley was Tua’s offensive coordinator at Alabama 2018, was involved in Taulia’s recruitment.
The lack of spring practice has altered an offseason that offers an opportunity for Jones to affirm his standing as Alabama’s starting quarterback since Young has yet to practice with the Tide.