The Big 12 is going to be new to Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts but let’s also not overlook the fact that Jalen Hurts is going to be new to the Big 12. In a year where more than half of the conference is replacing their signal caller from 2018, it’s only natural that a new guy like Hurts gets overlooked when discussing the next guy to fill the void as the best in the Big 12.
Folks in Big 12 country don’t necessarily know Jalen Hurts. They know Alan Bowman, Charlie Brewer, Sam Ehlinger, and Brock Purdy. Those are the four returning starters. Teams have played against them. Fans have rooted for them. The media has covered them. No one in this conference has experienced any of that with Jalen Hurts yet.
As spring ball concluded and teams get ready for summer workouts, the only program in the Big 12 that knows anything about Jalen Hurts is Oklahoma, and what they know should be absolutely terrifying to the rest of the conference.
“You never get a guy that does those things — not lose that many games and end up (transferring),” Hurts said about his situation. “Then you get to go to another top-tier school, and you’re in a situation where you end up replacing two Heisman winners. You can’t look back in history and say that’s happened ever.”
“He came in ready to lead this team and ready to pick up right where we left off,” Parnell Motley said.
Exactly where did Oklahoma leave off? They’re the four-time defending Big 12 champions, and the first school to ever produce back-to-back Heisman winning quarterbacks. That’s where this program left off in 2018 and through the spring Hurts, who hasn’t even been named the starter yet, has taken ownership of the leadership role that once belonged to Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray.
Don’t get me wrong. Sam Ehlinger led a Texas revival and won the Sugar Bowl. He’s going to get a lot of preseason hype and promotion as he should. Jalen Hurts has won conference and national championship though. If you take Hurts’ pedigree and experience and put it at another school in the Big 12 then he’s hands down the top quarterback going into 2019.
He’s not from the Big 12 though, he’s from Alabama and he’s a transfer and the conference media and coaches are going to show loyalty in their preseason love when it comes to rankings. Don’t let that fool you though.
Here’s what separates Hurts from any other Big 12 quarterback.
Hurts was a two-time S.E.C. champion at Alabama. He’ll be the only starting quarterback in the Big 12 this fall to have won a conference championship game.
He’s played in the College Football Playoff championship game and has never experienced a season in which his team didn’t go to the playoff. No other starting quarterback in the Big 12 has ever experienced the playoff.
In three seasons at Alabama Hurts threw for 5,626 yards and 48 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions. Nine of his twelve interceptions occurred during his 2016 freshman campaign. In his last year as a starter (2017), Hurts attempted 254 passes and was only picked off one time.
Hurts has thrown for 48 touchdowns and has ran for 23 more. He’s carried the ball 381 times for the Crimson Tide with an average of 5.06 yards per carry.
We know very well what Lincoln Riley can do with a quarterback’s passer rating. Consider this though, Hurts will be the most experienced running quarterback that Riley has had in his time at Oklahoma.
Oklahoma’s most recent graduating class left the program with more Big 12 championships than any other conference school has altogether. To say the 2019 team is going to be experienced will be an extreme understatement. That said, these guys are collectively moving to Hurts as a leader. Now you have the most experienced quarterback in the Big 12 leading the most experienced team in the Big 12. That should bring a collective smile across Sooner Nation, and a nasty scowl to the other nine schools.
“I think I clearly understood what I got myself into, but I also know that I have expectations for myself,” Hurts said in his first meeting with the media. “I’m kind of built for these type of situations.”