Don't look now, but right before your eyes, a young man from Mobile is re-writing the University of Alabama football record books. Already the owner of the most passing touchdowns in school history (55), AJ McCarron should move past John Parker Wilson later this fall as UA's career passing yardage leader. How good is this kid? As a starting quarterback, he has as many BCS championships as he has losses (2).
Yet with all of his success, all of his talent, the kid can't seem to catch a break from many media folks, let alone fans. Go ahead and call him the Rodney Dangerfield of college football: AJ McCarron just can't seem to get any respect. If ever there could be a future stand-up comic basing his material on his no-respect career, McCarron is your man. After a successful NFL career, he may some day be making his living as the funny man at the local comedy club.
"I'll tell you I get no respect. When I was born, the doctor came out to the waiting room and said to my father, 'I'm very sorry- we did everything we could, but he pulled through'."
Not quite: AJ's parents Tony and Dee Dee will perhaps be the most proud of how their son climbed back from a harrowing jet ski accident over 15 years ago. Would AJ lose an eye? Would he lose his life? From that time of recovery, mom and dad knew they had someone very special.
"I'll tell you I get no respect. I told my high school coach I accidentally swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills and he told me to go have a few drinks and get some rest."
Once again, no way. McCarron led his St Paul's football team to a state title over a tough Briarwood Christian team- he left high school as a 4-star athlete rated as one of the top 10 prep quarterbacks in the nation.
"I'll tell you I get no respect. My first year at Alabama, I told Coach Saban that I was depressed and was going to jump off the roof of the football building. Saban sent over a priest to talk to me and the priest said, 'On your mark...'"
Sorry, it didn't go down like that. Nick Saban knew that he had more than a game manager to lead his offense, and once AJ settled into a starting roll, there would be no turning back. McCarron has become so much like his coach (driven, focused, competitive), he would rather have a root canal than talk with the media. To football players and fans, that's a good thing.
"I'll tell you I get no respect. A 5-star receiver wanted me to throw him a pass in his first practice. He said, 'Let me show you my move'- and he transferred to Florida."
Actually, McCarron has had a steady stream of talented targets, and between them, AJ has turned in some of the most impressive moments in UA football history. Driving Bama 72 yards in 43 seconds to win at LSU, followed by tears of joy. Throwing 30 TD passes last season against only 3 picks and leading the nation in pass efficiency rating. Throwing for 334 yards and 4 TD's to lead the Tide to that big win at College station in September. Throwing for 264 yards and 4 TD's to lead Bama to a blowout win over Notre Dame in January. Becoming only one of seven quarterbacks to win back-to-back national titles and now hoping to become the only quarterback to win three straight. Yet despite the wins, the TD's and the consistency, SEC coaches voted McCarron a pre-season third-team All-SEC quarterback.
"I'll tell you I don't get no respect: My girlfriend told me to go over to her place because nobody was home. I went over and nobody was home."
Despite internet rumors of a break-up, McCarron and his friend Katherine Webb have done a nice job staying out of the headlines (see Johnny Manziel). While Webb travels the world, McCarron, confined to the football facility and practice field, has to be congratulated for keeping his focus while the world of Twitter and Facebook gossip away.
"I'll tell you I don't get no respect. Yes, my NFL career was brief, but I'm now involved in a bridge club. I jump next Tuesday."
Not so fast: I believe AJ McCarron has a very bright NFL future. Scouts like his size, his arm, his knowledge and perhaps best of all, the university at which he has played. Remember what the say about Nick Saban: He doesn't recruit, he drafts. After learning under Saban, playing under any NFL coach would be a vacation. AJ's only problem going to the next level? His NFL locker room facility won't be as nice as the one at UA.
Bottom line? Raymond Anthony McCarron deserves more respect than he is getting. I am lucky enough to own a Heisman vote- and while there is lots of football yet to be played, McCarron is currently one of my top two picks. At the very least I would expect AJ to garner an invitation to the Heisman dinner in New York. And if he keeps on winning, leading the Tide to a third straight BCS title? Respect will finally arrive, and that stand-up comedy career will never take place.