Given his strong finish to close out last season, Mac Jones enters the offseason with a lead in Alabama’s quarterback competition but by no means does he have that role already secured.

Alabama was already set to have a quarterback room featuring Jones and two elite four-star signees from the program’s 2019 recruiting cycle (Taulia Tagovailoa and Paul Tyson) but Nick Saban’s program also added the nation’s No. 1 overall quarterback prospect in the 2020 recruiting cycle this offseason in early enrollee Bryce Young.

While Jones may have looked the part to close out the 2019 season, he is fully aware that nothing will be given to him in Tuscaloosa. In fact, he seems to like it that way.

“Competition is always good,” Jones said during a recent appearance at the Birmingham Monday Morning QB Club Annual Banquet, which was posted to YouTube by CBS 42. “Obviously, we have a great quarterback room and we are going to miss Tua but he’s taught us a lot and I’m looking forward to leading the guys out there and just becoming as best as we can as a unit.”

When Tua went down in the Tennessee game last season, it was Jones that stepped up and finished the game for Alabama and started the following week in a win against Arkansas. Jones then had to replace Tagovailoa again during the Mississippi State game and closed out the season with starts against Western Carolina, Auburn and Michigan in the Citrus Bowl.

Jones finished the season passing for 1,503 yards with 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions after replacing Tua in the lineup. Without a doubt, that time on the field is going to help the redshirt junior prepare for the competition he’s going to see this spring in Tuscaloosa.

“I think it was a good start,” Jones noted. “I think I got some respect from my teammates and they did a good job helping me and having my back. Credit to all my teammates, they made it a lot easier, but that’s obviously in the past and we are looking forward to moving forward and me taking over the team and helping us win games.”

Speaking of his teammates, if Jones does win the starting QB duties at Alabama heading into next season, much of that may have to do with his rapport with DeVonta Smith. The rising senior could have left school early for the NFL but came back to improve his draft stock with one more season in college.

Jones expressed his appreciation of Smith’s decision and how much that’s going to help him next season on the field.

“It was a great feeling,” Jones added. “Me and Smitty, we’ve become really close throughout the years but specifically this offseason. We’ve already been throwing a lot and eating together, stuff like that. We are bonding great, he’s a great addition, he’s a great overall player all around. It’s good to have him back.”

Smith obviously wasn’t the only Alabama player to make the decision to return as Najee Harris will be back for one final run for the Crimson Tide. Based on what Jones had to say, it appears Alabama will be focused on getting Harris more touches during the running back’s senior season.

“I told Najee I’m happy for him that he’s coming back,” Jones commented. “Obviously, it’s his show and I’m just there to give him the ball and help those guys make plays. They’ll do a good job of making plays and getting better this offseason and continue that into next year.”