Louisville Commitment Jawon Pass chose the Cards over Alabama & Auburn back July in what was a celebratory day for UofL.

“I get a great feeling there. I have a good relationship with the coaches. Coach Bobby Petrino is a good coach, they run a pro-style offense and go in the gun. They’ll prepare me for the next level.” Jawon said about Louisville…he later added, “It was a no-brainer.”  Pass said to reporters in July following his commitment.

The U.S. Army All-American now will visit Alabama starting today through Saturday.  It’s not uncommon for players to take remaining visits in the final stages of the recruiting process, but not every staff has to battle for its most heralded recruit against the program who won the national championship 10 days prior.

Let’s take a look at the factors:

Khane Pass & the Pass Family

Louisville is thought to have had a leg up on everyone because of Jawon’s brother, Khane, signing with the Cards last February.  Khane spent 2015 redshirting and recently drew the praise of both Offensive & Defensive Coordinators Garrick McGee & Todd Grantham.  It’s expected that Khane will battle for snaps at Safety in 2016, but is most certainly expected to be a force in the Louisville secondary for years to come.

Some players LOVE the idea of playing WITH their brother.  Some players LOVE the idea of playing AGAINST their brother.  It’s a personality thing and both scenarios play out in college football regularly.  Louisville & Alabama have an agreement in place to open the 2018 season against one another in Orlando (Khane’s 4th, Redshirt Junior season.  Jawon’s 3rd season), and with the regularity that the SEC & ACC meet in bowl games this match-up will happen eventually in the post-season.

How would splitting the pair (Khane & Jawon) affect the Pass family?  Tuscaloosa is 3 hours & 10 minutes away from Columbus, GA, while Louisville is 7 hours to the Pass home.   There are 13 weeks to play 12 regular season games of a College Football season.  Both Louisville & Alabama aspire to play in the ACC & SEC Championship Games respectively, and both teams aspire to play for the National Championship or the New Year’s Six.   It’s a strong point to consider.

Jawon will need to make his own decision for his future and what he believes is best for HIM.  Ultimately Jawon is the one person who needs to live with his decision….either way.

Alabama Just Won the National Championship & Had Heisman Winner

Alabama is the program right now.  The Tide has Nick Saban and they’ve won 4 of the last 7 National Championships….including the most recent one less than two weeks ago.   Additionally Alabama also just had a Heisman Trophy Winner in running back Derrick Henry and also was the school of 2009 Heisman winner Mark Ingram.

Here’s the flip side to that:

Louisville has never won the National Championship.  A Louisville player has never won the Heisman.  When the time comes that a team can win the title or a player can win the Heisman at UofL that team or player will be revered in this city forever.  There is always an affinity for the “First” occurrence in any program, Louisville just happens to be an up & coming program that has been a part of the Power 5 for a short two seasons.  Compared to Alabama’s entire history in the SEC.

In the end, Alabama has rich tradition that dates back to the 1920s.  Louisville’s program basically began in earnest in the 1990s.  Jawon must decide if he wants to be a part of Bama’s legacy or at the beginning of Louisville’s.

Lamar Jackson/Redshirting

Some may say that Jawon Pass is looking around due to the breakout season Lamar Jackson had in 2015 where he threw for 135-247, 1840 yards and 12 Touchdowns & ran for 960 yards and 11 TDs.

That’s probably not the case and suggests that Jawon would shy away from competition.  Every Quarterback at every level has had to win the job and Petrino has managed to get great young talents on the field for meaningful snaps when he’s had a veteran in place.  Additionally quarterback competition isn’t a bad thing as it benefited Ohio State and the Quarterbacks on that roster during the 2014 season which led to them winning the championship.

Also consider this:  Going Back to 2000 only two Quarterbacks have won the Heisman Trophy without a redshirt year, Tim Tebow in 2007 and Chris Weinke in 2000 who was 25 years old as a freshman.

2014: Marcus Mariota (redshirted as freshman)
2013: Jameis Winston (redshirted as freshman)
2012: Johnny Manziel (redshirted as freshman)
2011: Robert Griffin (redshirted as sophomore, 3 games)
2010: Cam Newton (redshirted as sophomore, 1 game)
2008: Sam Bradford (redshirted as freshman)
2006: Troy Smith (redshirted as freshman)
2004: Matt Leinart (redshirted as freshman)
2003: Jason White (redshirted as sophomore behind Josh Heupel …somehow got 6 years of eligibility)
2002: Carson Palmer (redshirted as sophomore, 3 games)
2001: Eric Crouch (redshirted as freshman)

Jawon Pass is likely unconcerned with competing with Lamar Jackson.  Especially because he has the LUXURY of redshirting at Louisville.  Too often freshman see a redshirt season as a hindrance, but the reality is that redshirting is a blessing.  Look at the list above.  No disrespect to any high school football player, but if Jameis Winston can redshirt you can too.  No player should ever allow his ego to get in the way of his success.  Redshirting is an investment.

NFL DRAFT: Louisville’s Quarterbacks vs. Alabama’s Quarterbacks

Louisville’s QBs Alabama Qbs
2014- Teddy Bridgewater, 1st Rd – Minnesota Vikings 2016- Jacob Coker, ?, ?
2008- Brian Brohm, 2nd Round – Green Bay Packers 2014- AJ McCarron, 5th Round – Cincinnati Bengals
2005- Stefan LeFors, 4th Round – Carolina Panthers 2011- Greg McElroy, 7th Round – New York Jets
2003- Dave Ragone, 3rd Round – Houston Texans 2006- Brodie Croyle, 3rd Round – Kansas City Chiefs
2000- Chris Redman, 3rd Round – Baltimore Ravens 1995- Jay Barker, 5th Round – Green Bay Packers
1991- Browning Nagle, 2nd Round – New York Jets  

QBs NFL DRAFT: Bobby Petrino’s  vs. Nick Saban’s 


Petrino’s QB Not at Louisville Saban’s QB Not at Alabama
2016- Brandon Doughty, ? – ?  (Western Kentucky) 2007- Jamarcus Russell, 1st Rd – Oakland Raiders (LSU – split reps as freshman, only season with Saban)
2013- Tyler Wilson, 4th Rd – Oakland Raiders (Arkansas) 2004- Matt Mauck, 7th Rd – Denver Broncos (LSU)
2011- Ryan Mallet, 3rd Rd – New England Patriots (Arkansas) 2002- Rohan Davey, 4th Rd – New England Patriots (LSU)
2005- Jason Campbell, 1st Rd – Washington Redskins (Auburn OC) 2001- Josh Booty, 6th Rd – Seattle Seahawks (LSU)
1997- Jake Plummer, 2nd Rd – Arizona Cardinals (Arizona State QB Coach) 1996- Tony Banks, 2nd Rd- St. Louis Rams (Michigan State)
1994-Doug Nussmeier, 4th Rd – New Orleans Saints (Idaho OC)  
1990-John Friesz, 6th Rd – San Diego Chargers (Idaho QB Coach)  
1989-Jeff Carlson, 4th Rd – Los Angeles Rams (Weber State)  

Tuscaloosa or Louisville

The University of Alabama has a beautiful campus in the middle of Tuscaloosa, AL.  The school has a charm to it, there is no doubt.  But it isn’t in a metropolitan area like Louisville…. a place that was just named the #1 City for Food on the Planet Earth by National Geographic a few weeks ago.

Jawon could go to either school and get a fine education in school & in football.  There is no doubt that he would be prepared for the world having attended either school.  But if you’ve gotta spend 3-5 years in a place…there should be something other than a school there.  Louisville has that.

Louisville is also the place where “Happy Birthday” was written.  The Old Fashioned & the Manhattan (for people who can’t drink Old Fashioneds) were invented here.  It’s the birthplace of bourbon & disco balls.  Babe Ruth came here to make his bats.  Johnny Unitas went to school here.  Muhammad Ali was born here.

Louisville is also the home of KFC, Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver’s, A&W Root Beer.  It’s the headquarters for the world’s largest spirits company in the world: Brown-Forman, which houses 17 different brands of spirits.  Louisville is also home to Humana, who was attractive enough for healthcare giant Aetna to spend $37,000,000,000 to acquire and will continue to employ over 14,000 Louisvillians.

The school and its graduates developed the first ever IV, the Ambulance, the modern day operating room, the first artificial heart, performed the first hand transplant, developed the first vaccine for cancer, and is leading the way for spinal cord research.  We didn’t even get to the business school or law school.

Jawon Pass is going to Louisville or Alabama to play football.  But he still has to live wherever he decides to attend and more often than not players who come to Louisville end up living here…..there is a reason for that.  Louisville has long held an identity of a city with a small town feel, which is much better than actually living in a small town.  Tuscaloosa’s population is 90,468 of which 36,155 are students.  90,000 people basically are in 6 city blocks of downtown Louisville on a Tuesday afternoon.  But an actual small town environment does appeal to certain people, so it is an intensely personal decision.

It’s Jawon Pass’ Decision


In the end, Jawon Pass must make his own decision.  Can he say that Nick Saban has a history of developing Quarterbacks into the NFL?  Does Alabama?  Does Bobby Petrino?  Does Louisville?

There are family considerations, geography, city size, city attractiveness, program accomplishments….All of that is just noise.  In the end, it’s up to Jawon and it’s a big decision for a high school senior.

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@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, University of Louisville Business School Grad c/o 2004. Co-Founder of TheCrunchZone.com

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