Jan 27, 2021; American quarterback Mac Jones of Alabama (10) throws during American practice at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, USA;  Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama QB Mac Jones could miss Senior Bowl with injury

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones is in danger of missing Saturday’s Senior Bowl after injuring his left ankle during Thursday’s practice at Mobile, Ala.

Jones, a Heisman Trophy finalist, said he wasn’t sure he would be able to play in the contest.

“I’m not going to go out there if I’m not 100 percent,” Jones said after the practice. “It’s not fair to my teammates to not be 100 percent and try and play and not play well. I’m going to make the decision, but hopefully I can get treatment and see how it feels.”

Jones is still nursing a right leg injury from the College Football Playoff title game victory over Ohio State earlier this month. He immediately knew there was an issue with his left leg when he sustained the injury.

“I kind of rolled my ankle a little bit. I was more worried about my right leg, but now my left leg is a little hurt,” Jones said. “I didn’t get to finish (practice), but I don’t want to risk it at this point. Get treatment and figure out how I feel.”

Jones is on the American Team. The other quarterbacks on the squad are Kellen Mond of Texas A&M and Jamie Newman, who played for Wake Forest before transferring to Georgia and then opting out of the 2020 season.

The team is being coach by the Carolina Panthers’ staff. Head coach Matt Rhule said Jones was having a highly productive practice prior to the injury.

“He went for a while there, started limping at the end, so I just said, ‘Hey, why don’t you go see the trainer?’” Rhule said. “Last thing I want to do is see the kid get banged up. He was having a hard time. I thought he had a good day, just had to get it himself healed up.”

Jones passed for an Alabama single-season record 4,500 yards and threw 41 touchdown passes this season, He finished third in Heisman Trophy balloting behind winner and teammate DeVonta Smith, and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence.

–Field Level Media

Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones (10) celebrates with the trophy after defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama QB Mac Jones wins Manning Award

Alabama’s Mac Jones on Tuesday was named the winner of the 2020 Manning Award, presented to the nation’s top quarterback.

The redshirt junior guided the No. 1 Crimson Tide (13-0) to the College Football Playoff national championship, completing 77.4 percent of his passes for 4,500 yards with 41 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Jones, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting (won by teammate DeVonta Smith), declared for the 2021 NFL Draft last week.

The Manning Award, presented annually since 2004 by the Sugar Bowl committee, was created to honor the college football accomplishments of Archie Manning and his sons, Peyton and Eli.

“It was quite a year for Mac Jones and the Alabama football team,” Archie Manning said in a release. “We had a lot of outstanding quarterbacks around the country, but I don’t think any player directed his offense as efficiently and as effectively as Mac.”

The other finalists this year included Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, Notre Dame’s Ian Book and Florida’s Kyle Trask.

Jones is the first Alabama quarterback to win the award, which went to LSU’s Joe Burrow in 2019.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) and Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (10) celebrate a touchdown pass from Jones to Smith at Bryant-Denny Stadium during the second half of Alabama's 41-0 win over Mississippi State. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

Mac Jones leads Alabama foursome entering NFL draft

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones joined fellow teammates wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, cornerback Patrick Surtain II and defensive lineman Christian Barmore in declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday.

Barmore played as a redshirt sophomore while the other three are juniors, all announcing during a press conference their intent to forego their senior seasons to enter the NFL.

All are expected to be taken in the first round. Along with senior running back Najee Harris and Heisman Trophy winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith, the Tide could have six players selected in the first round on April 29 in Cleveland.

Jones completed his first full season as Alabama’s starting quarterback as a redshirt junior and threw for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns. Jones won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and Davey O’Brian Award.

“I played every role you can imagine from scout team to starter to national champion,” Jones said Thursday. “… I’m really looking forward to this next opportunity.”

Surtain, whose father, Patrick, played 11 seasons in the NFL, was a unanimous All-American and the Defensive MVP in Alabama’s win over Notre Dame in the CFP semifinals.

“Since I was a kid, my life-long dream was to play in the NFL and with much thought and consideration with my family and prayer I am announcing that I am declaring for the 2021 NFL draft,” Surtain said Thursday.

Barmore recorded 37 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks – good for second in the SEC — six quarterback hurries, three pass breakups and three forced fumbles this season.

Waddle missed most of the season with a fractured ankle but caught 28 passes for 591 yards and four touchdowns and averaged 21.11 yards per reception in six games.

The Tide defeated Ohio State to win another national championship earlier this week.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) and Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (10) celebrate a touchdown pass from Jones to Smith at Bryant-Denny Stadium during the second half of Alabama's 41-0 win over Mississippi State. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

Heisman: DaVonta Smith’s hands vs. three arms

With its bid for the CFP National Championship Game trophy still a week away, No. 1 Alabama will find out Tuesday if it will grab a different piece of hardware before facing No. 3 Ohio State.

The Heisman Trophy presentation will take place Tuesday night, giving the Crimson Tide one last potential distraction on their way to team glory. Or maybe it will be motivation.

In a concession to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony will he held virtually from ESPN studios at Bristol, Conn., with all four candidates on hand from remote locations.

Alabama will have two chances at the award as wide receiver DeVonta Smith and quarterback Mac Jones wait to see if their name will be called. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask also are finalists.

Smith and Jones showed their Heisman credentials in a 31-14 CFP Semifinal victory over Notre Dame on New Year’s Day at a displaced Rose Bowl in Arlington, Texas. Smith had seven catches for 130 yards and three touchdowns. Jones was the provider for Smith’s big day by going 25-for-30 passing for 297 yards and four touchdowns.

Just don’t ask Smith to break down the race between him and his teammate. In fact, don’t even mention it with so much team glory at stake soon.

“Right now I’m not really worried about the Heisman Trophy,” Smith said Monday. “I’m just trying to come in with the team this weekend, just look forward to getting on to the game plan for Ohio State.”

That kind of focus helped Smith to 105 catches in his senior season for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns. He could be the first wide receiver to win college football’s top honor since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991.

Quarterbacks have won the award nine of the last 10 years and Jones put himself in contention during a season when he passed for 4,036 yards, 36 touchdowns and four interceptions in 12 games. Lawrence had 3,153 yards passing, 24 touchdowns and five interceptions in 10 games. Trask had 4,283 yards passing, 43 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 12 games.

He faces some formidable quarterback competition for the award, and while Smith might not want to discuss individual accolades so close to a championship game, he said that he is honored to represent wide receivers on the national stage.

“I guess you could say that, just showing that it really just — the person that goes out and just puts in the work, they’re going to get the things that they deserve,” the Amite, La., product said. “So if you work for things you’re going to get the things that you deserve.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 19, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones (10) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama’s Jones, Clemson’s Lawrence among Heisman finalists

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask were named finalists for the 2020 Heisman Trophy, the Heisman Trust announced on Thursday night.

The field of 10 was narrowed to four, with the winner to be announced on Jan. 5 during a virtual ceremony on ESPN.

Alabama running back Najee Harris placed fifth in the voting, ahead of Iowa State running back Breece Hall and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, who placed sixth and seventh, respectively.

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson placed eighth, followed by Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book and Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, who became the first player at his position to finish in the top 10 in the Heisman vote since 1977. Pitts had 770 yards and 12 touchdowns receiving in just eight games this season.

Jones has thrown for 3,739 yards, second highest nationally, with 32 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has completed 76.5 percent of his passes, and would become just the third Alabama player and first Crimson Tide quarterback to win the award.

Smith is tops nationally in receptions (98), receiving yards (1,511) and yards after the catch (768) while ranking second in receiving touchdowns (17) and receiving yards per game (137.4). He is vying to become the first receiver to win the award since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991 and the first non-quarterback to claim it since former Alabama running back Derrick Henry took it home in 2015.

Lawrence could become Clemson’s first Heisman Trophy winner. He has thrown for 2.753 yards, 22 touchdowns and four interceptions despite missing two games after testing positive for COVID-19. He has gone 34-1 as a starter with three ACC titles, a national championship and a runner-up finish. The highest Heisman voting finish for a Clemson player was by Deshaun Watson, who was a finalist twice and the runner-up in 2016.

Trask leads nationally in total touchdowns (46), touchdown passes (43), passing yards (4,125) and passing yards per game (375) in 11 games. He also is the only Southeastern Conference quarterback ever to throw for at least 400 yards five times in a season. His 46 touchdowns are second only to Tim Tebow’s 55, which he posted during his Heisman Trophy-winning season in 2007. Trask is seeking to become the fourth Gator quarterback to win the Heisman, also joining Danny Wuerffel in 1996 and Steve Spurrier in 1966.

Jones and Smith will lead top-ranked Alabama against No. 4 Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, while Lawrence and the No. 2 Tigers will face No. 3 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, also on Jan. 1. Trask and the No. 7 Gators face No. 6 Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 30.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) and Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (10) celebrate a touchdown pass from Jones to Smith at Bryant-Denny Stadium during the second half of Alabama's 41-0 win over Mississippi State. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

Alabama WR DeVonta Smith vaults into Heisman contention

DeVonta Smith wasn’t even on the board of players being offered Heisman Trophy odds at most sportsbooks a week ago.

Another dynamic outing later — along with some national publicity love from Kirk Herbstreit — and Alabama’s senior receiver is suddenly one of the Heisman favorites.

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask has been the betting favorite by most sportsbooks for the past several weeks, but his hopes took a serious hit with the Gators losing their second game of the season last Saturday.

Meanwhile, Alabama improved to 10-0 with a 52-3 rout of Arkansas.

Quarterback Mac Jones threw for 208 yards on 24 of 29 passing. Three of those completions went to Smith, who scored the Crimson Tide’s first touchdown on an 84-yard punt return.

Jones is now widely considered the Heisman Trophy favorite. He’s being offered at -160 by FanDuel, -200 by DraftKings and -210 by William Hill. Several other regulated sportsbooks have taken Heisman odds off their markets.

Those who are still offering them now have Smith as the second favorite.

Smith’s sudden rise also followed an endorsement from ESPN’s Herbstreit on “College Gameday” before the Arkansas rout.

“I think DeVonta Smith right now, I don’t know if he’s (No. 1 or 2) but he’s right there,” Herbstreit said. “I want to see how things go next weekend in Atlanta (in the SEC Championship Game).

“This is an offense that lost (Jerry) Jeudy and (Henry) Ruggs a year ago (and) (Jaylen) Waddle during the Tennessee game, and he just keeps getting better and better. (Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian) and Mac Jones get all the recognition, but my man DeVonta Smith is having the best year in the country as far as I’m concerned.”

Smith now has 83 receptions for 1,327 yards and 15 touchdowns this season, all career highs.

He is being offered at +200 by DraftKings and FanDuel and +250 by William Hill. That’s ahead of Trask at all three – +350 by DraftKings and William Hill and +800 by FanDuel.

Preseason Heisman favorite Trevor Lawrence is fourth at each of the three sportsbooks, with his hopes largely dashed after missing two games following a positive COVID-19 test.

–Field Level Media