Alabama's Mac Jones gets to tell Tim Tebow that the Florida quarterback was his role model
Jones and Tebow are both from Jacksonville, Florida, and Tebow started the interview by saying, "Great job on representing Jacksonville and the 904 (area code)."
Tebow, who played quarterback at Florida from 2006-09, said, "I can't be happy that you beat up on my Gators, but honestly, you played a flawless game."
Alabama beat the Florida Gators 52-46 in Saturday's SEC Championship in Atlanta.
Tebow then asked Jones a question.
"I watched almost every single one of your warm-up throws, and one of the things that I've loved about you for the last two years is — when nobody knew your name, and nobody talked about you, and you came in for Tua (Tagovailoa), you came in with this intensity, this focus, you were locked in, and you were determined, and there was this IT factor about you," Tebow said. "I watch every throw you made in warmups, and every single one of them you threw like it was a national championship throw. How did you get that? How did you instill that in yourself, in your discipline and your mindset?"
"Well, I got it from you," Jones said. "Because you were my favorite player growing up, and you did everything right all the time. So I just learned that hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard from you. Honestly, I can literally say it's from you, because I loved you growing up and still do now."
"Well, I appreciate it," Tebow said. "Thank you, man."
SEC Network host Laura Rutledge then asked Jones if he remembered having his picture taken with Tebow when Jones was a kid, and Jones said he remembers waiting a long time to have his picture taken with Tebow.
"I was so happy just to be able to get a picture with Tim, and I appreciate him doing that for me and my family," Jones said.
"Of course, man," Tebow said. "Well, I tell you what, I am super proud of you, and I think you've handled yourself so well, especially with the pressure that Bama brings. ... You've never flinched, and you've handled yourself so well. You're humble, and you give everybody the credit, and you've done literally everything you could. And you know what, you might be up for another award as well."
In Saturday's Alabama win, Jones went 33-for-43 passing with 418 passing yards and five touchdowns.
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Erik Hall is the lead digital producer for sports with the USA Today Network. You can find him on Twitter @HallErik.