Jalen Hurts Announces Transfer to Oklahoma from Alabama in Players' Tribune

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2019

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 01:  Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks to pass in the fourth quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs during the 2018 SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 1, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts announced his decision to transfer to Oklahoma on Wednesday in an essay in the Players' Tribune.

"Now I'm Bama for LIFE—and that right there will never change! But now it's also time for me to start a new chapter in my story," Hurts wrote. "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.

"I'm very fortunate to have this opportunity, and I'm excited for the journey ahead."

Hurts earned his degree in December, which will allow him to play immediately next season as a graduate transfer. He will have one year of eligibility remaining after playing three seasons for the Crimson Tide.

The Texas native had been a two-year starter for Alabama, leading the team to a 26-2 record during his time under center before eventually losing his job to 2018 Heisman Trophy runner-up Tua Tagovailoa.

A 4-star recruit in 2016, Hurts immediately grasped the offense in his first season and became a key to the team's outstanding season. Alabama won its first 14 games before losing in the national title game to Clemson, while he was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Year while tallying 2,780 passing yards and 954 rushing yards with 36 total touchdowns.

He was more efficient as a sophomore in 2017, throwing 17 touchdown passes with only one interception while once again leading Alabama to the championship game. Unfortunately, he was benched after struggling in the first half for Tagovailoa, who led the team over Georgia in a come-from-behind effort.

While there was speculation Hurts would transfer before 2018 after losing the starting role, he remained a patient backup and came through in a big way while leading the Tide to a SEC championship when Tagovailoa got hurt.

The quarterback finished his Alabama career with 48 passing touchdowns and 23 rushing touchdowns in three years, plus two conference titles.

He also remained an ideal teammate while showing maturity that few others his age would have been able to replicate.

"I've been counted out," he said before this year's championship game, per Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com. "I was supposed to do this, I was supposed to do that. Even last year after the [championship] game, I was supposed to be gone. This year I was supposed to redshirt and do all those things. But I'm here. I'm here for this team."

Hurts will now get his chance to move on and hopefully return to the spotlight as a starter on his new team.

With Kyler Murray declaring for the NFL draft, Oklahoma lacks a proven quarterback who would prevent Hurts from earning the job.

Considering Lincoln Riley has helped back-to-back quarterbacks win the Heisman Trophy in Murray and Baker Mayfield—both former transfers—there is a lot of upside in this offense going into next season. 

Hurts is a different type of player than these recent stars who were better in the passing game, but he is still good enough to put up big numbers in 2019.

With plenty of talent elsewhere on the roster, the Sooners should once again be College Football Playoff contenders next season.

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