ESPN SEC analyst Paul Finebaum isn’t known for heaping praise or even compliments on anyone not from the SEC. That makes his appreciation for Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts all the more interesting, though Hurts has deep SEC roots, of course.
In an appearance on Get Up, Finebaum identified the former Alabama quarterback as his top candidate to win the Heisman. He had Hurts as his first pick, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence second, and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa third.
Jalen Hurts may be just about the only player who Paul Finebaum respects more after leaving the SEC. Via 247Sports:
“Jalen Hurts has been spectacular. Maybe there’s a little bit of my heart wanting him to win because of what he’s been through and his resiliency. He’s just shown that he deserves it and I think he’s going to be in New York.”
But he stopped short of saying that Hurts’ strong season would translate to a top selection in the NFL.
“Everyone loves Jalen Hurts,” Finebaum said. “He may very well win the Heisman Trophy, but he will not be the No. 1 pick in the draft. Jalen Hurts has not quite gotten there yet. He has surprised a lot of people with his resilience, but it would be one of the biggest upsets ever if he went from nowhere to No. 1 in a short period of time.”
A Heisman Trophy winner has been the No. 1 overall draft pick in three of the last five NFL Drafts. The last three Heisman Trophy winners from Oklahoma have all gone first overall, including Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray in the last two years.
Whether Hurts winds up with a big NFL contract remains to be seen. Right now though, he looks like one of the best players in all of college football.