Former Oklahoma Sooners QB Jalen Hurts took the road less traveled to wind up where he is now. In today’s game, it takes a rare breed to endure some of the trials he faced with the utmost class and professionalism. Beyond that, there aren’t many players who can say they’ve won a national championship, led two different teams to two different conference titles and played in the College Football Playoff in each of the four years of their career. Fortunately for us fans, we were treated to history whenever we watched this guy ball.
Jalen Hurts’ Story
Channelview High School is only twenty minutes east of the heart of Houston, Texas, and that’s where the legend of Jalen Hurts began. There his father, Averion Hurts, coached him and helped shape him into the man he is today. Because of the strong foundation on which he was raised, he studies the game from a deeper level, and it shows.
Hurts signed with the Alabama Crimson Tide as a four-star recruit in the 2016 recruiting class. Though he didn’t enter the season as the starter, his number was called to spell Blake Barnett in the first quarter of the 2016 opener, and as they say, the rest is history. Even as a true freshman he proved the situation wasn’t too big for him, and he started the next 28 games for Nick Saban en route to back-to-back national championship game appearances.
However, with the highs come the lows. In 2016, Hurts led the Tide to the final game of the college football season, but Bama was ultimately upended by Deshaun Watson and the Clemson Tigers. The next season, Hurts was able to lead his team back to the big game for all the marbles, but was benched at halftime in favor of Tua Tagovailoa, who led a memorable comeback over the Georgia Bulldogs.
Going into the following offseason, some speculated that Hurts might see the writing on the wall and pack his bags for greener pastures, but that’s not what happened at all. Instead, Hurts became a shining example around the nation of what it means to be a team player by remaining in Tuscaloosa, earning his degree, and stepping up when Alabama needed him most — in the 2018 SEC Championship Game.
In the same stadium where Hurts lost his starting job in the championship game just 11 months prior is where Hurts also found redemption. Oddly enough, it just so happened to also come against UGA. After Tagovailoa went down with an ankle injury, Bama’s former starter came in and didn’t miss a beat. He not only seized the moment, he rallied his team to victory, and in doing so signed off on one of the great comeback stories of the year.
A month after Hurts graduated from Alabama, he decided it was time to make a move, and he of course chose to spend his final collegiate year by learning under Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma. Following in the footsteps of Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, he quickly became close with his new teammates, and was eventually named a team captain.
Statistically, Hurts’ 2019 run with the Sooners was by far the most prolific of his career, both on the ground and through the air. When the season was all said and done, he had amassed 3,851 passing yards, 1,298 rushing yards, and threw 32 TDs to just eight INTs while adding 20 more scores with his legs. All things considered, such as winning a Big 12 Championship, finishing second in the Heisman Trophy voting and making a fourth trip to the CFP, it’s certainly a campaign worth celebrating.
NFL Combine/Pro Day Results
- Height — 6’1”
- Weight — 222
- Arms — 31 3⁄4”
- Hands — 9 3⁄4”
On-field workout results:
- 40-Yard Dash — 4.59 seconds (second fastest among all participating QBs)
- Vertical Jump — 35” (tied for fourth highest)
- Broad Jump — 10’5” (tied for longest)
Hurts certainly bettered his draft stock at the combine with both his on-field workout results and the interview process. It remains to be seen exactly how much of an impact his time in Indy had on the teams he met with, but afterwards ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky compared Hurts to a cross between Lamar Jackson and Taysom Hill, while NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein sees more of Tim Tebow’s game in him.
According to several of the latest mock projections, Hurts will most likely be a Day 2 selection. Earlier this month, NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah ranked the dual-threat quarterback as his No. 50 overall prospect in this year’s class. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. projects Hurts to come off the board in the second round with the No. 49 pick (Pittsburgh Steelers). Meanwhile, NFL.com’s Chad Reuter and CBS Sports’ R.J. White both see him going in the third round at No. 87 (New England Patriots) and No. 106 (Las Vegas Raiders), respectively.
Jalen Hurts Highlights
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