Alabama Quarterback Jalen Hurts to Transfer to Oklahoma Next Season
Former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts announced Wednesday that he will play his senior season at the University of Oklahoma.
Hurts published an article on Wednesday in The Players’ Tribune in which he announced his transfer plans while also thanking Alabama’s staff and fans. As a graduate transfer, Hurts will be eligible to play for the Sooners right away.
Hurts officially entered the transfer portal last week following the Crimson Tide’s loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. He visited the Oklahoma campus in Norman on Saturday before visiting the University of Miami on Sunday.
A number of other programs including Ohio State, UCLA, Tennessee, Auburn, Florida State and Utah additionally showed interest in Hurts. He was also expected to consider his hometown Houston Cougars.
With last year’s quarterback, Kyler Murray, off to play either pro baseball or pro football, the Sooners were facing an uncertain situation at the position. The Sooners were reportedly nervous about letting Austin Kendall transfer away, but once Hurts announced his decision to come to Norman, the school eventually granted Kendall his request. So, Kendall will be playing next season at West Virginia.
With Hurts’ decision, the Sooners went from having a potentially unstable quarterback position to having arguably the best quarterback in the Big 12…again. Lincoln Riley already had a stacked roster, but the addition of Hurts will put the Sooners right back in the National Championship conversation.
After Clemson’s aforementioned thumping of Alabama last week, the Tigers surged to the top of the list of contenders for next season’s national title. As of this writing, Clemson is listed at +180 to win it all next season behind star quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
The Tide, who seem to be in the national title game every year these days, have the second-best odds at +250. Oklahoma was initially listed at +1400, but the news of Hurts’ transfer has pushed the Sooners’ odds up to +800. Oklahoma’s odds are still distant compared to the 2 teams that just duked it out in the National Championship Game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear plenty of hype surrounding OU’s chances at dethroning Clemson next season.
History at ‘Bama
Hurts went 26-2 during his time as the starter at Alabama before being benched at halftime of last year’s National Championship Game in favor of Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa would go on to lead the Tide to a come-from-behind victory over Georgia in that game before being named as the team’s starting quarterback prior to this past season.
Hurts still saw occasional playing time, but Tagovailoa would go on to be the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy after leading ‘Bama to an undefeated regular season in his first year as the starter.
With Tagovailoa entrenched as the starter, Hurts decided to move on for his final collegiate campaign.
Hurts still played in all but 2 games as Tagovailoa’s backup last season. He completed 51 of his 70 throws for 765 yards with 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Hurts also rushed for 167 yards with another 2 scores.
During his 2 season’s as the Tide’s starter, Hurts threw for 4,861 yards with 40 touchdowns and 10 picks. He was named as the SEC’s Offensive Player of the Year after his true freshman campaign in 2016. He also rushed for 1,809 yards with 21 touchdowns during his first 2 seasons with the team.
Hurts led the Crimson Tide to the National Championship Game in 2016 as a true freshman, where they were beaten by Deshaun Watson and the Clemson Tigers.
Big Shoes to Fill at OU
At Oklahoma, Hurts is expected to be named the team’s starting quarterback ahead of next season. He will follow in the footsteps of Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, who each went on to win the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma in their final seasons as the team’s starting quarterback. Mayfield and Murray have also led the Sooners to appearances in the College Football Playoff in back-to-back seasons.
Mayfield went on to become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He was largely successful during his rookie campaign, and he set an NFL record for most passing touchdowns by a rookie (27) in a season.
Murray, who won the Heisman over Tagovailoa last season, officially jumped into the NFL Draft over the weekend. Murray, who was drafted with the No. 9 overall pick by MLB’s Oakland Athletics last summer, reportedly made the decision to try his hand at pro football following his incredibly successful season as the Oklahoma starter.
Whether Murray sticks with football or eventually chooses baseball remains to be seen. Both Mayfield and Murray won the Heisman after transferring to Oklahoma from Texas Tech and Texas A&M, respectively.
Hurts will be in charge of what was college football’s most prolific offense under Murray’s watch last season. The Sooners averaged a whopping 570.3 yards of offense per game last season, which led the nation by a mile. Ohio State ranked second with an average of 535.6 yards of offense per game.
Oklahoma averaged a nation-leading 48.4 points per game, as well. Murray and the Sooners were eventually beaten by Tagovailoa, Hurts and the Crimson at the Capital One Orange Bowl in the semifinal round of the College Football Playoff last season.
There is a chance Hurts has revenge on his mind. Mike Farrell, a college football analyst for Rivals.com, tweeted that Hurts may have chosen Oklahoma because he wants the chance to face off against Alabama in the College Football Playoff next season. Obviously, playing at Oklahoma gives Hurts an excellent chance at exacting some revenge.
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