Jalen Hurts had to make a decision after the conclusion of the 2018 college football season.
The former Alabama starting quarterback had his position usurped by Tua Tagovailoa. Hurts, who wanted to finish his college career as a starter, needed to choose where he would transfer. First choices included Miami and Maryland, where two of Alabama's 2018 offensive employees had taken on new roles, respectively. Quarterbacks coach Dan Enos had taken the same position in Miami, and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley had been named head coach in Maryland.
But it was Alabama coach Nick Saban who steered Hurts to his 2019 final destination: Oklahoma, whom Tide had defeated 45-34 in the semifinal of the 2018 college football playoffs.
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Saban detailed Hurts' decision in a Sunday interview with the Philadelphia Eagles:
"And I remember him coming to me and saying he could go to Miami because the quarterback coach had gone to Miami as the offensive coordinator, the quarterback coach here, Dan Enos," Saban said in the interview. "Mike Locksley got the job of head coach in Maryland. "I could go to Maryland or I could go to Oklahoma."
"I said,quot; Jalen, where do you have the best players? "Saban said." Because he felt more comfortable going where he knew these guys. "And he said," Well, I think they have the best players in Oklahoma. "I said we just played against them and they also have some pretty good players on offense."
While Saban was certainly correct in his assessment of the Oklahoma roster, he certainly helped third-year coach Lincoln Riley already have an excellent record with the quarterbacks. His offenses produced consecutive Heisman Trophy winners at Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray in 2017 and & # 39; 18, respectively. Like Mayfield, Murray would become the first overall pick in the draft.
"That is not disrespectful to anyone else, the guys who worked here and did a great job here, it is in your best interest," Saban said. "This is how you should make this decision right now. He did it and I think he did a great job for Oklahoma."
Damage certainly continued with that series of successes at Norman in 2019. He enjoyed his career highs in completion percentage (69.2 percent, minimum of 100 pass attempts), pass yards (3,851), adjusted yards per attempt to pass (12.2), pass touchdowns (32), rushing yards (1,298) and rushing touchdowns (20). He finished second in the Heisman Trophy vote behind LSU's Joe Burrow and led the Sooners to a third straight place in the Playoffs.
Hurts eventually became a second-round pick (No. 53 overall) for Philadelphia, where he imagines he will learn behind starter Carson Wentz.