By KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — University of Alabama quarterback Mac Jones led the undefeated Crimson Tide to a national championship with a victory over Ohio State on Monday night after an unprecedented college football season.
Jones joined ABC News’ Good Morning America on Tuesday morning, just hours after hoisting up the College Football Playoff National Championship trophy in Miami and said “it definitely feels great.”
The 22-year-old junior from Jacksonville, Florida, in his first year as the team’s starter, was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, threw for over 4,000 yards and won the Davey O’Brien Award given to the nation’s top quarterback.
“We didn’t even know if we were going to have a full season or if we were going to start and then stop, so I just give my hat’s off to the administration and NCAA and SEC for allowing to us play a full season,” he said. “It feels great to be where we are — this is right where we wanted to be — it’s something that we’re all grateful for.”
Jones’ perseverance and drive continued to shine on the field, as he threw for over 400 yards and five touchdown passes in their 52-24 win over the No. 3-ranked Buckeyes, handing them their only loss of the season.
“I just think with anything — regardless of the sport or what you want to do — a lot of people tell you ‘no.’ But if you love something, you can’t listen to the haters as people call them, and do what you do,” Jones said.
After smashing records in the first half of the game, Jones’ teammate and Heisman trophy-winning receiver, DeVonta Smith, suffered a hand injury at the start of the second half. Jones said the words of wisdom from the team’s veteran head coach, Nick Saban, were key to getting them to keep their composure and finish strong.
“Coach Saban’s message — he told us to just stay even-keeled and try not to get too up or too down in the game,” Jones recalled. “Injuries happen — and we had guys out there playing that were young guys, we had guys that were hurt, so just to be out there and try and finish through for our team was just something that Coach Saban has kind of instilled in us.”
Alabama’s win also marked a historic milestone for Saban, who notched his seventh career national championship, moving him past fellow Alabama legend Paul “Bear” Bryant for the most titles in college football history.
Jones, who has one year left of NCAA eligibility, said he has not yet made any decision on if he will play another season at Alabama or opt to enter the NFL draft.
“Honestly, not really,” he said. “I feel like I’ve put myself in a good position to do either one. Obviously I love coach Saban and Alabama, but at the same time there’s a great opportunity in the NFL but I just have to — kind of weigh the pros and cons and look at them and see what’s best for me and my family.”
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