Before he was a Super Bowl-bound starting quarterback for the Eagles, Jalen Hurts had one of the most unique college football careers in recent memory. His current NFL success has fans and media members debating whether Alabama or Oklahoma gets to lay claim to him as one of their own.
Hurts began his career at Alabama in 2016, taking over as starting quarterback early on during his freshman season. He won SEC Offensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year and led the team to a national championship appearance, where the Crimson Tide fell to Clemson. A year later, with the team back in the national championship against Georgia but struggling at the half, Hurts was pulled for Tua Tagovailoa, who led the team to a comeback win to capture the title. After sitting behind Tagovailoa as a junior, he transferred to Oklahoma in ’19 for his final season, finishing second in Heisman Trophy voting to Joe Burrow and earning All-Big 12 honors.
Hurts spent most of his college career at Alabama, and started most of the year for a national championship team, but posted his best season at Oklahoma and was drafted after his year in Lincoln Riley’s Sooners offense.
Now, he’s one win away from Super Bowl immortality, so naturally, the Crimson Tide and Sooners are vying for the lion’s share of credit as far as his college development goes.
Perhaps the correct answer is the one offered by AL.com’s Joseph Goodman. In a column titled, “Jalen Hurts is America’s quarterback,” he argues that neither Alabama nor Oklahoma deserve the majority of the credit, which goes to Hurts himself.
“People are rooting for Hurts’ success because of how he managed his personal setbacks while in college,” Goodman writes. “He’s in the Super Bowl by way of Alabama and then Oklahoma. One school gave him the tools to compete, and the other put him back in the ring. It was Hurts himself who kept punching.”