Ex-Alabama QB Jalen Hurts Named Oklahoma's Starter vs. Houston

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2019

FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, file photo, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts throws during an NCAA college football practice in Norman, Okla. Hurts is competing with Tanner Mordecai, a redshirt freshman, and Spencer Rattler, a true freshman, to become starting quarterback.(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley announced that Jalen Hurts would be the team's starting quarterback against Houston on Sept. 1.

Hurts, who transferred from Alabama in January, was always expected to win the starting job given his experience with the Crimson Tide. He lost the starting gig in Alabama due to the ascension of Tua Tagovailoa, who was a Heisman Trophy runner-up last season behind former Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. 

Hurts, a senior, was Alabama's starting quarterback his first two seasons and went 26-2 as the team's starter. He threw for 5,626 yards, 48 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his first three seasons, completing 62.9 percent of his passes. He also rushed for 1,976 yards and an additional 23 scores.

But the beginning of the end for Hurts in Alabama came in the College Football Playoffs championship game in the 2017 season, when Tagovailoa took over for the struggling Hurts in the second half and led the Crimson Tide to a 26-23 overtime win over the Georgia Bulldogs.

Tagovailoa then won the starting job heading into the 2018 campaign and was superb. That left Hurts with a decision to make—remain Alabama's backup quarterback for his senior season or transfer to another school where he could compete for the starting gig. He chose the latter option, ending up in Norman. 

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Expectations will be high for Hurts, especially considering the team's last two starting quarterbacks, Baker Mayfield and Murray, each won the Heisman. Like Murray, Hurts is a dangerous weapon as a runner, so Alabama's offense shouldn't face a major stylistic transition this season. 

As for adjusting to a new program, Hurts is up for the challenge.

"I think I'm wiser, I'm better, I'm stronger for it, (for) everything that took course last year and the last three years," Hurts said in March, per George Schroeder of USA Today. "Obviously I didn't get the snaps (in 2018). I had limited time there. But I'm at a new place now. New opportunity. I think it's a different team on the same mission."

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