Jalen Hurts was on the sidelines as Alabama vanquished Oklahoma and earned a spot in the College Football Playoff championship game. Two weeks later, he’s consorting with the former enemy.
Friday night and on into Saturday, Hurts was visiting Maryland — and former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Mike Locksley — before embarking on a reported trip to Miami — and former Crimson Tide quarterbacks coach Dan Enos. In between, Hurts, whose name appeared in the NCAA transfer database earlier this week, was reportedly on the OU campus and visited the Sooners.
With Kyler Murray leaving for either the NFL draft or Major League Baseball (probably), OU will again be looking to replace a Heisman-winning quarterback. One of those thought to be the front-runner for the job, Austin Kendall, is in the NCAA transfer database and considering a move away from Norman.
When it comes to Oklahoma and the reported visit, though, there’s also this:
Hurts started every game but one in 2016 and 2017, guiding the Crimson Tide to a 26-2 record in that span. He was under center for the national championship game loss to Clemson after the 2016 season, and was in the same spot for last year’s title game against Georgia until a 13-0 halftime deficit compelled Nick Saban to pull the trigger on a change.
And the rest, as they say, is history, as Tua Tagovailoa played a significant role in a second-half comeback that was capped by the then-true freshman’s game-winning touchdown pass in the first overtime. Amidst criticism from Hurts himself, Tagovailoa won the job ahead of the 2018 season kicking off and, after finishing runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting, led the Tide into another title game loss to the Tigers earlier this month.
As Tagovailoa will be a true junior in 2019 and is firmly entrenched as the starter, that combination of factors triggered Hurts’ decision to at least explore a transfer.
Hurts graduated from UA last month and would be eligible immediately at whichever school he ultimately lands.