The biggest name passing through the much-maligned NCAA Transfer Portal was former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts. If you’ve missed out on the last two seasons of college football, well, let’s just say it’s been a roller coaster ride for the Channelview, Texas native once rated as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback coming out of high school.
Hurts was the first true freshman quarterback to start for Alabama since 1984; In that same game, he broke the Crimson Tide record for passing yards by a freshman. From that point, Hurts captured Freshman All-American honors, was named SEC Offensive Player of the Year, and amassed a 26-2 record while leading Nick Saban’s team to back-to-back national championship games.
That famous 2018 College Football Playoff national title game cemented Tagovailoa as the left-handed savior for Alabama, and he went on to rewrite the school’s record book in his first full season as starter. But Hurts made sure his legacy in Tuscaloosa was cemented with one final moment in the sun.
Hurts entered the SEC Championship Game after Tagovailoa struggled against the Georgia Bulldogs, and he rallied the Tide to a 35-28 victory, including scoring the game-winning touchdown on a 15-yard run with two minutes to play.
In the offseason, Hurts transferred to join the Oklahoma Sooners and coach Lincoln Riley’s high-powered offense for his senior season. And according to his former offensive coordinator at Alabama, there’s one thing lying dormant in the back of Jalen Hurts’ mind: revenge.
“I’m sure in the back of Jalen’s mind, he would like to see the Oklahoma-Alabama matchup happen,” Maryland head coach Mike Locksley, who coached Hurts at Alabama in 2018, told George Schroeder of USA Today. “I think that came into play when he made the decision to go there.”
Look, no matter how many times he’s asked about potentially facing his alma mater, Jalen Hurts will never admit that he’s out for revenge. But the fact of the matter is that this young man is a competitor of unrivaled proportions. He was loyal to that program by riding the bench last season before becoming a graduate transfer over the winter. Hurts is a Sooner now, and he’ll be an Alabama Crimson Tide hero for the rest of his life, but the chance to get back at the team that cast him aside after two incredible seasons would be justice of the highest order.
This is Jalen Hurts’ farewell tour. It’s his swan song, if you will. Oklahoma is ranked No. 4 in the Preseason AP Top 25 and are favored to win the Big 12 Conference for the fifth-straight year. Hurts officially beat out true freshman Spencer Rattler and was named OU’s starting quarterback, hoping to follow Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray’s footsteps as a Heisman Trophy winner.
And if he gets his way, the fabled Oklahoma-Alabama rematch in the College Football Playoff would be the most exciting college football game of this decade. Period.