Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts currently sits at a 6-1 odds to win the 2019 Heisman Trophy. That doesn’t make him a favorite (Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence are at 3-1) but it puts him squarely in the conversation and, as a quarterback in Lincoln Riley’s offense, that’s exactly where you’d want him to be.
Hurts shares the same Heisman odds as Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez but he’s a lot closer to Tagovailoa and Lawrence in clout and notoriety than anyone else we could mention in the preseason Heisman hype.
Of course Hurts has to produce on the field. The former Crimson Tide front man produced 4,861 passing and 1,809 rushing yards in two seasons as Alabama’s starting quarterback, with 61 total touchdowns, before giving way to mop-up duty and S.E.C. championship game comebacks as a junior in 2018.
On the heels of back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners at the University of Oklahoma, Hurts becomes the third consecutive transfer quarterback to start for the Sooners. The question is, can he become the third consecutive Heisman winner at OU? That answer is a strong, yes!
Lincoln Riley has proven to be a master at shaping his offenses to the strengths of his quarterbacks. He shattered school and conference records with Baker Mayfield and then broke them again with Kyler Murray. Now, insert Hurts who will be the most polished and experienced transfer quarterback to ever set foot on campus in Norman.
Of course there’s the media aspect of it as well. You’ve got to win over the guys who are actually casting the votes, a feat that Hurts appears to have already done. In an article posted last week, The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel quotes ESPN’s Ryan McGee on Hurts and the Heisman.
“Look, we don’t pull for teams or players; that’s not our job,” McGee said. “But it wouldn’t hurt my feelings one bit if (Jalen) Hurts won the Heisman Trophy.”
That’s just one outlet, although a major one, but Hurts is really going to need to pull votes away from Tagovailoa S.E.C. country if he’s going to pull off the unimaginable. Enter noted Big 12 hater and S.E.C. homer Paul Finebaum who weighed in on the subject.
“I mentioned this the other day, and I’ll say it a million times, if it were a close call between Jalen Hurts, Tua and (Clemson’s) Trevor Lawrence or anyone else, I’m voting for Jalen Hurts for the Heisman,” Finebaum said. “I really want to see him win the Heisman Trophy. I just think it would be one of the greatest college football stories of all time.”Paul Finebaum via NewsOK.com
If Hurts can get guys like Paul Finebaum pulling for him then there’s literally no one in the media that he can’t get on his side. It would take a magical season from a special player to win a third consecutive Heisman Trophy for the same program. Jalen Hurst undoubtedly is that special player. The question is, can he and Lincoln Riley pull off the magical season in 2019?