Alabama quarterback commit Paul Tyson plans to arrive at Alabama on Friday, having graduated from high school a semester early and ready to take part in on-campus bowl practices.
The Hewitt-Trussville product said he has a one simple goal: “Help the team any way I can,” he said.
Alabama coaches may have already determined how.
Tyson said there have “definitely” been discussions about him mimicking Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence as a scout-team quarterback if the Crimson Tide and Clemson meet in the national championship game. Alabama plays Oklahoma in one College Football Playoff semifinal, and Clemson meets Notre Dame in the other.
“A couple of years back when Deshaun Watson was playing (at Clemson), Jalen Hurts actually did the exact same thing — came in for bowl practice and took on that role as Deshaun Watson,” Tyson said. “They said they completely believed that helped a ton and he was able to mimic Deshaun Watson.
“Definitely made clear that if Clemson ends up winning, it might be a shot for me on scout team to help the team.”
Tyson said he’s grown to 6-foot-5 and tips the scales at between 215 and 220 pounds, a near perfect match of the physical profile for the 6-foot-6, 215-pound Lawrence.
The two quarterbacks share similar athletic gifts, too — big, strong-armed quarterbacks with better mobility and athleticism than many fans give them credit for possessing.
Tyson completed 225-of-342 passes for 3,193 yards in 12 games, with 33 touchdowns and nine interceptions, in 2018. He also scored four rushing touchdowns on 43 carries.
For comparison sake, Lawrence completed 192-of-281 passes for 3,472 yards, also in 12 games, with 42 touchdowns and one interception as a senior at Cartersvile (Ga.) in 2017. He added two rushing touchdowns on 43 carries.
Hurts immediately impressed Alabama coaches as the stand-in for Watson before Alabama’s 45-40 victory over Clemson in 2016, a prelude to him winning the starting job as a true freshman.
Tyson isn’t likely to win the starting job in 2019, not with Heisman runner-up Tua Tagovailoa returning and Hurts with another year of eligibility remaining.
Future playing time aside, Tyson said he’s intrigued with the idea of simulating Lawrence to prepare Alabama’s first-team defense for the Clemson freshman.
“It’ll definitely be a big jump going to from high school to first team, without really any time in between,” Tyson said. “That’s definitely be fun and a challenge I’ll have to accept. It’ll be exciting.
“Whatever they want me to do,” he continued. “Not saying that’s 100 percent going to happen, but if that’s what they want me to do, I’m putting myself in their hands.”
Alabama’s other quarterback commit, Thompson’s Taulia Tagovailoa and Tua’s younger brother, isn’t participating in bowl practices and plans to arrive in Tuscaloosa when classes start in January. Even if he were reporting this week with Tyson and at least two other 2019 signees, he suffered a late-season injury to his throwing shoulder and likely wouldn’t be able to fully participate.
Tyson, meanwhile, is eager to get to Tuscaloosa. “I can’t wait,” he said.
Tyson is the great-grandson of legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, who played at Alabama in the 1930s before becoming the all-time winningest coach in major-college football history.
“It’s definitely something cool to think about,” Tyson said, “who my great-grandfather was and for me to continue the legacy at Alabama is really cool.”