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In 2017 and '18, Alabama had Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts and Mac Jones on its quarterback roster.

Wouldn't it be wild if Jones ended up being the one of the three who won a Heisman Trophy?

Going into this weekend, BetOnline had Florida's Kyle Trask, Jones, Ohio State's Justin Fields and Clemson's Trevor Lawrence in that order as the favorites. They were pretty much mashed together at the top of the list and well ahead of the rest.

But, Fields threw three interceptions Saturday in Ohio State's win over Indiana, and Lawrence hasn't played in a month because of his own COVID-19 protocols or that of his team.

Trask threw for 383 yards and three touchdowns in Florida's win over Vanderbilt and might have the most eye-popping overall numbers.

As for Jones? Even though he's gotten mentioned more and more in recent weeks as a Heisman dark horse, he keeps putting together efficient, quality games each time out. He did it again as Alabama hammered Kentucky 63-3.

Jones played until about midway through the third quarter and left with Alabama up 42-3. He completed 16 of 24 passes for 230 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He got picked off once when a deep ball to favorite receiver DeVonta Smith floated a little short. His one drawback this year is that he underthrows his deep pass occasionally, but otherwise, that play has been his calling card.

Nick Saban said afterward that Jones might've gotten greedy.

Heading into Saturday's games, Jones' passing efficiency rating was 210.3. For a reference point, LSU's Joe Burrow was 202 last year in his Heisman season, and Tagovailoa was 199.4 in 2018, just ahead of Murray at 199.2.

More importantly, though, he's leading an Alabama team ranked No. 1 in the nation, and if the Tide keeps rolling through its schedule (including a possible matchup with Florida in the SEC title game), and if Jones keeps playing as well as he has, why not him? Has he moved from dark horse to a real favorite?

The funny thing is that Jones never was supposed to play much quarterback at Alabama. When he was recruited, he looked like an insurance signing.

In 2017, Hurts was coming back from a stellar freshman year, and Tagovailoa had already committed to Alabama. Jones followed with his own commitment, but conventional thinking was that by the time Hurts and Tagovailoa headed out the door, some other five-star phenom would enter to take the job.

Alabama got 29 commitments that year, and 24 were rated with four or five stars, according to 247sports.com. Jones was a three-star prospect, rated the No. 18 pro-style quarterback in the country, just behind Clemson's Chase Brice, who was 17th. Brice spent three seasons looking up at more celebrated players before transferring to Duke, where he is the starter this year.

Tua's little brother, Taulia, joined the roster in the 2019 recruiting class and looked like the Tide's next great quarterback. But, he couldn't beat out Jones to be Tua's backup last season. The race was over, and we didn't realize it yet.

This past spring was supposed to be a chance for Taulia and Bryce Young, another vaunted prospect who enrolled in time to compete for the job.

But, the COVID-19 pandemic meant no spring practice. The two young guns never got a chance to challenge Jones. Taulia transferred to Maryland, where he has done good things.

Then again, if there had been spring practice, Jones might've just cemented his spot as the starter.

Last year, Tua got hurt twice last year, allowing Jones to start four games. He got better in each start. By the end of the season, he looked like he was more than just an insurance guy.

It's funny to think that if Tua never had gotten hurt and COVID-19 had never happened, Jones might never have gotten a chance.

It's to Jones' credit that when he got the chance, he took advantage.

His national reputation keeps growing. He was the Maxwell Player of the Week after Alabama beat Texas A&M. He was SEC offensive player of the week after Alabama's wins over A&M, Georgia and Tennessee.

He has been added to watch lists for the Davey O'Brien Award and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.

In December, he could wind up in New York as a Heisman finalist.

Who would've thought that would happen?

Senior Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.

This article originally ran on annistonstar.com.

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