Meet AJ McCarron:Your Newest Celebrity College Football Quarterback
If you want to be a rockstar celebrity quarterback before you're old enough to drink a beer, you need to come play football in the SEC.
Move over Johnny Football and Tim Tebow, you've got company in the SEC's celebrity quarterback club.
On a night when he led his team to a second straight national title, the McCarron family become superstars after ESPN cameras featured his mom and girlfriend during the first half. Katherine Webb, who OKTC wrote about a couple of weeks ago when news of her relationship first went public, saw her Twitter follower count skyrocket as Alabama continued added points on the scoreboard.
When her relationship with AJ McCarron first went public, Webb had just 180 Twitter followers.
By one in the morning on the night after the BCS title, Webb had over 100,000 Twitter followers.
Including LeBron James. (At some point after midnight LeBron stopped following Webb, perhaps because he was worried what his wife might say).
In the post-game locker room, McCarron was told about his mom and girlfriend's star turn on ESPN and said he was happy for his mom because she sometimes got overlooked. But when told that his girlfriend now had over 100,000 Twitter followers, McCarron splashed a lopsided grin on his face.
"She has more followers than me?" he asked, incredulous.
Then he praised his girlfriend for what she'd accomplished -- she won Miss Alabama in 2012 -- and then it was quiet for just a moment in the post-game locker room.
At that point I told AJ that LeBron James was now following his girlfriend on Twitter.
He wouldn't believe me.
"Seriously," he said, the first surprise of a night when he and his team thoroughly dominated an overmatched Notre Dame team.
"I'm going to Tweet him and I'm going to get a follow. That's messed up."
McCarron was laughing as he spoke, and at some point we'll get the video up of his reaction and it will go viral, but for now it's just another sign of the rarefied celebrity air that Alabama's quarterback now finds himself amidst. Other than USC with Matt Leinart and, maybe, Matt Barkley, if you want to be a celebrity, there's one path to national renown -- play in the SEC.
Johnny Manziel is already this generation's Joe Namath.
Tim Tebow had a statue by the time he was 23 and won just a single title as a starting quarterback.
AJ McCarron has a chance to win three titles as a starting quarterback.
That's never happened.
That's why it's time to stop calling AJ a game manager. He's more than that. Tonight McCarron threw for 264 yards and four touchdowns and the hardest hit he took came from his teammate, center Barrett Jones. Combine that with last year's sterling performance against LSU and McCarron has now passed for 497 yards and four touchdowns without a single interception in the past two BCS title games.
Asked in the locker room whether it was best game ever, McCarron said it wasn't, that in the 5th grade league championship he'd scored 33 of his team's 35 points and beaten his cousin's team in the championship game.
So, granted, it wasn't a 5th grade title, but he still managed to lock down his second national title, something only a handful of quarterbacks have ever managed in their careers.
And McCarron played so well that his mom and girlfriend became famous as well.
McCarron's already got two titles, could he win a third? I like his chances on leading Alabama to a third straight national title as well. Vegas offshores have already opened Alabama as a massive 3-1 favorite to win the 2013 BCS title. If McCarron won a third title as a starting quarterback, he'd become the first college quarterback in the modern era to accomplish the feat. Think about that for a minute.
AJ McCarron entered tonight's game relatively unknown to the nation. He left a superstar.
Call it the SEC quarterback rockstar effect. You become famous during your first few years and if you return for a senior season, thanks to social media and the explosive growth of the SEC, you can become a rockstar, famous well beyond football. Tonight AJ became a superstar.
Now if only LeBron James would follow AJ on Twitter.