When the NCAA changed its redshirt rule for the 2018 football season, allowing players to play in up to four games without using a year of eligibility, attention immediately turned to Tuscaloosa.

With junior Alabama QB Jalen Hurts expected to lose his starting job to sophomore Tua Tagovailoa (which he did), many speculated that Hurts might want to redshirt and potentially transfer from the program. As word got around that Hurts would likely graduate after the 2018 season, talk of his redshirting and transferring ramped up.

By using the redshirt rule and the graduate transfer rule (immediate eligibility) to his advantage, Hurts had a unique opportunity to put his junior season on hold. He could leave Alabama and join a new team with two seasons of eligibility remaining.

He might still transfer, but if he does, Hurts will do so as a senior.

Hurts’ opportunity to redshirt in 2018 passed when he stepped on the field Saturday in the Louisiana game, his fifth of the season. His decision to continue to help the Crimson Tide’s 2018 campaign was praised all around.

The fans in Bryant-Denny Stadium treated Hurts to a loud standing ovation.

Nick Saban praised Hurts for his unselfishness.

“I know there has been a lot of talk around here about guys transferring and the transfer rule, but Jalen has obviously handled this extremely well, relative to being a great team player and leader, respecting his teammates and sticking with the program here,” Saban said after the game, per Bama OnLine.

“He played very well today and took advantage of when he does have an opportunity to play, he plays well and tries to create value for himself, which I think would be the message that I would send to all players out there who are trying to take advantage of this new rule.”

His teammates noticed, too.

“It shows that he’s a professional,” WR Henry Ruggs III said of Hurts, according to Bama OnLine. “He’s about his business. He has a plan on what he wants to do, and that’s what he always tells us and he’s sticking to it. He never complains, he comes to work and does what he has to do to get better.”