Oklahoma will have its third starting quarterback in three years in 2019. It’s likely going to be a very familiar face to college football fans.
Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts announced in the Players’ Tribune on Wednesday that he would head to Oklahoma for the 2019 season. Hurts is a graduate transfer and eligible immediately after spending the 2018 season as the backup quarterback to Tua Tagovailoa.
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’ transfer has been long-expected since Tagovailoa beat him out for the starting job at the beginning of the 2018 season. Since he was set to graduate in December, Hurts stayed as the team’s No. 2 quarterback in 2018 instead of leaving the team and transferring during the season.
That worked out well for Alabama. Much like when Tagovailoa came in for Hurts in the second half of the 2018 National Championship Game and led a comeback win over Georgia, Hurts won a game from the bench for Alabama. Hurts replaced the Heisman runner up in the second half of the SEC Championship Game against the Bulldogs and led Alabama to a 35-28 win.
Tagovailoa, who suffered an ankle injury in the game, started against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl and again against Clemson in the 2019 National Championship Game. Hurts played late in the game as Clemson had a 44-16 lead.
Hurts picked Oklahoma over Maryland and Miami
Hurts took visits to Oklahoma, Maryland and Miami after his name was officially entered into the NCAA’s transfer database. Hurts would have played for former Alabama offensive coordinator and new Terrapins head coach Mike Locksley at Maryland. Former Alabama quarterbacks coach Dan Enos is now the offensive coordinator at Miami.
Hurts’ choice of Oklahoma keeps the Sooners at the top of the Big 12 and as a preseason contender for the College Football Playoff. He joins an offense that will utilize both his running and passing abilities and returns wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and running back Kennedy Brooks. Oklahoma’s offense in 2018 averaged over 8.5 yards per play, the most an offense has ever averaged at the top level of college football.
It’s a near-guarantee that Hurts will be Oklahoma’s starting QB to begin the 2019 season as Kyler Murray is off to either Major League Baseball or the NFL and backup quarterback Austin Kendall is exploring a transfer. Hurts’ main competition for the starting role will be true freshman Spencer Rattler, a five-star 2019 recruit. Rattler told Sooner Scoop he is on board with the addition of Hurts.
— Josh McCuistion (@JLMcCuistion) January 16, 2019
In addition to (probably) being Oklahoma’s third starting QB in three years, Hurts has the opportunity to be the team’s third-straight Heisman-winning QB. Baker Mayfield won the award in 2017 as Oklahoma made the College Football Playoff and Murray won it a year ago. No school has produced three different Heisman winners in three straight seasons. And like Hurts, Mayfield (Texas Tech) and Murray (Texas A&M) both arrived at OU as transfers.
Hurts is aiming for a fourth-straight title game appearance
If Hurts and Oklahoma get to the National Championship Game in 2020 he would be making his fourth-straight appearance in a title game. Hurts was Alabama’s starter as a freshman when the Crimson Tide lost to Clemson on a late touchdown in 2017.
He played an important role for Alabama in the leadup to the 2016 National Championship Game too. Hurts enrolled early at Alabama and simulated Clemson QB Deshaun Watson as Alabama prepared for its first playoff game against the Tigers.
Hurts ends his Alabama career with 1,976 rushing yards and 23 rushing touchdowns over three seasons. He was also 445-of-707 passing for 5,626 yards, 48 touchdowns and 12 interceptions over his three years with the team. He completed over 60 percent of his passes in all three seasons and had over 800 yards rushing in each of his two seasons as a starter.
Alabama players who made appearances in the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 National Championship Games were the first players since the start of the BCS era to play in four-consecutive title games. Hurts will be aiming to be the first player to play in four-straight title games with two schools.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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