We remember it like it was yesterday... January 8th... 2018... Jalen Hurts, slightly over two years before he was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in Round 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft, and Tua Tagovailoa, the man who would be taken 48 spots earlier, fifth overall, were both part of a decision that changed their lives.
Jalen was struggling as the Alabama Crimson Tide's starting quarterback in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. He was benched. Tua stepped in, and his night ended with a game-winning overtime 41-yard touchdown pass to another true freshman, wide receiver DeVonta Smith.
Yeah... Things were never the same for either guy after that.
Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa's football careers have led the away from AND towards one another.
On September 1st of 2018, Tua Tagovailoa, made his debut as Bama's starting QB after supplanting Jalen Hurts. He was injured during the SEC Championship Game versus the Georgia Bulldogs the following December.
Jalen stepped in and led The Tide to victory and yet another SEC title. Tua returned to the lineup and was flawless 28 days later in the Orange Bowl. Bama's 45-34 victory led to a fourth consecutive CFP National Championship appearance, one they lost.
Tua finished second in Heisman Trophy voting to Kyler Murray. Jalen transferred from Bama to the Oklahoma Sooners for the 2019 season. He enjoyed a near-Heisman-winning season of his own but ultimately lost the trophy to Joe Burrow.
They have never played in a game versus one another until now. They meet in Week 7 of the 2023 NFL season as the Philadelphia Eagles host the Miami Dolphins in primetime on Sunday Night Football. Their winding roads have led them around, away from, and now towards one another.
How is it possible that we haven't been discussing the Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa reunion all week?
Jalen Hurts will never admit to this, but he has to have thought about this for a while, right? How could he not have being the type of competitor he is?
For the first time in their young careers, he and Tua meet on the field for the first time as opponents. If Jalen and Tua are lucky, their careers will play out to be long and prosperous, If we're lucky, there's a chance that we may see this duel about three times.
We expect that Jalen will do all that he can within his power to win this game, and you know what? We think he can get it done, but what better way to end the third act of a story we have watched than to close the book with Jalen's team defeating Tua's?
To be honest, we really can't think of a better one.