Youth movement: Poise by QB Tagovailoa, Alabama freshmen preview of things to come in college football

BY Elijah Zabludoff • January 9, 2018

On college football's biggest stage, in the biggest defining moments of their young lives, Alabama quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa teamed up to erase a 13-point second-half deficit to SEC rival Georgia.

It wasn't Jalen Hurts performance on the field that sparked the comeback, but his support of backup ... & true-freshman ... Tua Tagovailoa that lifted the Tide over the Bulldogs in overtime during Monday night's College Football Playoff Championship.

At the start of the second half, Nick Saban pulled Hurts, now 26-2 as a starter, for Tagovailoa, a rookie from Hawaii, after Hurts was unable to move the offense at all during the game's first 30 minutes.

An unprecedented move by one of college football's greatest coaches may have just put into motion, for coaches and programs everywhere, the embracing of youth.

Now, that isn't to say that true-freshman haven't come in and had an immediate impact in college, but it is the very fact that, of all people to trust to mount a comeback, Saban put faith behind a freshman QB (Tagovailoa), true-freshman running back Najee Harris, who led the team in rushing, and a true-freshman receiver in DeVonta Smith, who caught the game-winning touchdown.

Is it worth noting, too, that Jake Fromm of Georgia is a true-freshman who led the Bulldogs into the CFP final.

Now that college football's 'most powerful conference' has made it their trend, I fully expect the rest of the NCAA to follow suit.

Gone are the days of relying on your trusty 'ol veteran to win you games, and fully arrived are the days of putting the best players on the field, no matter their age or grade or experience level.

Expect incoming USC freshmen quarterback J.T. Daniels to compete with Matt Fink and Jack Sears to be the starter for the 2018 season. With five-star wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, Daniels' teammate at Mater Dei, joining him at USC, it's hard to argue against the chemistry they have created over the course of three years.

Sure, they were JUST in high school, and J.T. Daniels is only technically a high school junior, but the history of Mater Dei quarterbacks at USC is favorable, and the level of high school play has only risen since, say, Matt Leinart or Matt Barkley were at Mater Dei.

As hard as it may be for the older generations of college football fans to admit, it's time for the millennial takeover.

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