Alabama Football had a record 7 players to depart early for the NFL draft this season and the line of assistant coaches leaving Tuscaloosa is just as long as it was last year but losing Jalen…hurts.
Jalen Hurts announced today that he will be transferring to Oklahoma. Jalen wrote an open letter in the Player’s Tribune recounting the rise and fall of his career at Alabama and the faith that sustained him through it all. It’s a bittersweet read for any Alabama fan with love for everything Jalen Hurts has done for this program.
Jalen was 26-2 as a starter when he was pulled at halftime during the national championship game against Georgia. Everyone knows how the story of that game ends but Jalen’s story isn’t over yet. What will this next chapter at Oklahoma look like?
Oklahoma is no stranger to working transfer quarterbacks into a winning system. The last two quarterbacks who came to Norman from other schools both won Big 12 conference titles – and the Heisman trophy. The 2017 Heisman trophy winner, Baker Mayfield, came to Oklahoma from Texas Tech. Kyler Murray beat out Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa for the Heisman trophy in 2018 after transferring to Oklahoma from Texas A and M.
Could the Sooners make it 3 in a row to leave New York holding college football’s most coveted individual award with Jalen Hurts? It could happen. We all saw the way Jalen’s passing game improved this year. Couple that with a schedule full of weak BIG 12 defenses that leave receivers wide open and Jalen could put up video game numbers.
Ah, but the big question is:
Could Jalen Hurts end up facing off against Alabama after leading the Sooners back to the playoffs? Get ready, Alabama Nation. That storybook ending to the Jalen Hurts story isn’t a fairy tale. It’s almost guaranteed.
Oklahoma benefits from a BIG 12 schedule full of teams that just aren’t on the Sooners level. Their biggest roadblock is Texas and, although the Longhorns will still have Ehlinger under center, they’ll be taking a step back this year anyway thanks to growing pains on both sides of the line. West Virginia lost their head coach to Houston and their highly touted QB Will Grier to the NFL. TCU is more miss than hit lately and the rest of the BIG 12 conference amounts to nothing more than speed bumps for the Sooners on their way to the playoffs this year.
Alabama’s schedule sets up nice to send the Tide back to the playoffs in 2019 as well. Alabama Football will lose a number of play makers to the NFL draft but the Tide returns weapons on offense like Biletnikoff Award winner Jerry Jeudy, Maxwell Award winner Tua Tagovailoa and SEC Freshman of the Year Jaylen Waddle just to name a few.
Alabama also benefits from a schedule that’s a little softer than we are used to seeing in the SEC. Bama leads off against an improved but still struggling Duke squad and doesn’t play any real competition until after the first bye week against Texas A and M on October 12. The Tide gets home field advantage against LSU on November 9 and will end the season against an Auburn team that will be replacing QB Jarrett Stidham with an as of yet named signal caller.
Georgia is the only real threat to toppling Alabama Football’s reign over the SEC and they are having their own problems in Athens. In all likelihood, Alabama will punch their annual ticket to the playoffs again next year as well and set up another showdown with the Sooners.
A hero, a rise, a fall and a redemption – the Jalen Hurts’ story has everything except an ending. Don’t be surprised when the next chapter finds our hero on the other side of the line facing off against his former Alabama team mates. I can’t wait to read it. Roll Tide forever #2.