Jalen Hurts announced, via an article he wrote on The Players’ Tribune, his intentions to transfer from Alabama to Oklahoma to (likely) take over as starting quarterback this fall.
In the article, Hurts stated, “I’ve decided to take my talents to the University of Oklahoma, where I will continue my development as both a quarterback and as a student.”
For the 3rd. straight quarterback, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley has managed to lure an outcast from another major college football program.
History says Riley might be onto something with this strategy as his previous two quarterback transfers, Baker Mayfield (Texas Tech) and Kyler Murray (Texas A&M), both turned in back-to-back Heisman-winning seasons under center.
Hurts, who graduated in December, famously lost his starting job after leading the Crimson Tide to a championship his freshman year and another national championship appearance the following year. Two quarters of ineffective quarterback play against Georgia in that title game was all it took for Tide coach Nick Saban to pull the trigger on, then, true freshman Tua Tagovailoa. One miraculous championship-winning throw later and Tagovailoa was firmly entrenched as the Tide’s starting quarterback.
This year, Hurts saw minor playing time during the regular season, however, was called upon to bring back Alabama from behind against Georgia, of all teams, during the SEC title game as Tagovailoa left the game due to injury with just under 11 minutes to play. Hurts rallied the Tide back to secure a 35-28 win as he went 7 of 9 on pass attempts with a touchdown.
Now, with Alabama in his rear-view mirror, Hurts is looking to save his NFL hopes with a breakthrough season at Norman this Fall.
Personally, I don’t see it happening.
Hurts is far and away the worse of the three quarterbacks Riley has had to mold into the Sooners’ starter. So far in his career, he’s struggled to be accurate with the football and has posted a putrid 60% completion percentage in his two meaningful years at Tuscaloosa.
Riley and Oklahoma play a fast-tempo, pass-happy office and Hurts will be asked to throw more than he’s ever thrown in his life. He’s a ball-controlling quarterback; a game manager. He’s not THE focal point of an offense which is why he was perfect for Saban’s system. A 60% completion percentage will mean a ton more three-and-outs this fall that Sooner fans probably won’t stand for, especially with incoming freshman Spencer Rattler, the #1 dual-threat quarterback in the country in his class, waiting in the wings.
The worst possible scenario for Hurts would be for him to, again, lose his starting job to a, clearly, more talented underclassman.
That ISN’T to say that Oklahoma isn’t better, at the moment, with him starting. Hurts definitely makes the Sooners competitive in a, suddenly, wide-open Big XII and could very well have them competing for another spot in the college football playoff.
But a Heisman? Nope.