After stel­lar sea­sons, quar­ter­backs’ stock soars

San Antonio Express-News - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL - By Ralph D. Russo 7 p.m. to­day, ESPN

NEW YORK — Tua Tago­v­ailoa rolled across the floor of the New York Stock Ex­change on a black scooter with a lit­tle Alabama sticker on the front, his sprained left an­kle in a gray plas­tic boot, safely propped up as he pushed off with his right foot.

The Crim­son Tide quar­ter­back and fel­low Heis­man Tro­phy fi­nal­ists Kyler Mur­ray of Ok­la­homa and Dwayne Hask­ins of Ohio State were on Wall Street on Fri­day to ring the clos­ing bell on a day the Dow Jones In­dus­trial Av­er­age closed down 558 points.

Stock for the three firstyear starters has been soar­ing this sea­son. A year ago they were sec­ond on their team’s depth chart. On Satur­day, one of them will win the Heis­man Tro­phy.

Tago­v­ailoa picked up where he left off in the sec­ond half of last sea­son’s na­tional cham­pi­onship game vic­tory against Ge­or­gia to lead the top-ranked Crim­son Tide back to the play­off as a sopho­more.

Hask­ins, a third-year sopho­more, stepped in after the de­par­ture of a fouryear starter and smashed Ohio State and Big Ten pass­ing records.

Mur­ray, a fourth-year ju­nior, re­placed last sea­son’s Heis­man win­ner and had an even bet­ter sea­son than his pre­de­ces­sor. Mur­ray waited the long­est to fi­nally take over a team, trans­fer­ring from Texas A&M after a rocky fresh­man sea­son, tak­ing a red­shirt year to sat­isfy NCAA trans­fer rules and then back­ing up Baker May­field in 2017.

“I think sit­ting down and watch­ing is kind of im­por­tant,” Mur­ray said. “I know Dwayne got to sit and watch. Tua ob­vi­ously got to sit and watch. I think it just helps you with your growth and ma­tur­ing on and off the field. I think that’s a big part.”

For the 16th time in the last 19 years, a quar­ter­back will win col­lege foot­ball’s most cov­eted in­di­vid­ual award and that should not be a sur­prise this sea­son.

Dur­ing a 30-minute in­ter­view ses­sion with re­porters at the Stock Ex­change, Tago­v­ailoa was asked a lot about his health. He sprained his an­kle in the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game last week and said he ex­pects to be fine for the play­off, when No. 1 Alabama faces No. 4 Ok­la­homa and Mur­ray in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 29.

“Life throws prob­lems at you some­time and it’s how you deal with it,” Tago­v­ailoa said.

Mur­ray fielded numer­ous ques­tions about his fu­ture in baseball. He was a first-round draft pick by the Oak­land Ath­let­ics in June and has al­ready signed $4.66 mil­lion con­tract. This will be his one and only sea­son as a col­lege start­ing quar­ter­back.

“My fu­ture’s al­ready kind of been de­cided as of right now,” Mur­ray said.

The ques­tion Hask­ins will face is whether to re­turn to col­lege or en­ter the NFL draft.

“After the bowl game I’ll sit down with my fam­ily and talk about it,” he said. The No. 6 Buck­eyes face No. 9 Wash­ing­ton in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 in what will be coach Ur­ban Meyer’s last game be­fore re­tire­ment.




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