The Oklahoma Sooners have found their quarterback — two days after Kyler Murray declared for the 2019 NFL Draft, former Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts announced his transfer from Tuscaloosa to Norman in a post on The Players’ Tribune.
“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,” Hurts wrote.
“I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity, and I’m excited for the journey ahead.”
Hurts will be eligible immediately to play his final season of college football.
A former consensus four-star prospect ranked as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Hurts committed to Alabama as a member of the 2016 class out of Channelview, an oil refinery suburb on the east side of Houston.
Hurts quickly took the SEC by storm, becoming the first freshman to start at quarterback for head coach Nick Saban and leading Alabama to a 13-1 record. A national championship eluded Hurts and his teammates, however, as Clemson pulled out a 35-31 victory in Tampa.
As a sophomore, Hurts once again started every game, finishing third in the SEC in total yardage, but in the season’s critical moment, Saban turned to freshman Tua Tagovailoa in the national championship against Georgia when Hurts struggled. And so it was Tagovailoa who made the game-winning throw in overtime to secure the title, sparking speculation that Hurts would eventually transfer from the program.
After serving as the backup to Tagovailoa this season, Hurts had his shining moment in leading Alabama’s comeback against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, but following another title game loss to Clemson, the long-awaited transfer is exactly what happened.
During that process, Maryland looked like a strong contender at one point when former Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley took over as the new head coach in College Park, but the opportunity at Oklahoma was eventually too much for Hurts to pass up.
Now the Texas native will become the odds-on favorite to replace Murray with the departure of redshirt sophomore Austin Kendall, who is currently being blocked by Oklahoma from becoming immediately eligible at West Virginia.
Hurts should be able to step in relatively seamlessly with the Sooners and affirmatively answer the question of whether head coach Lincoln Riley can once again coax elite-level play from the position.
And that’s significant news for Texas, which will face off against Oklahoma in the annual grudge Cotton Bowl grudge match on Oct. 12 — the presence of Hurts in Norman will make that game much more difficult to win in addition to making the conference much more difficult to win.
“So to my about-to-be family in Norman, I truly appreciate you for bringing me on board,” Hurts wrote. “Y’all don’t know me yet……… but just for now, to introduce myself: I’m a motivated coach’s son from the Eastside of Houston, and I love to play ball.”