The Jalen Hurts-Alabama-transfer storyline is likely going to stretch into the summer. Here's the latest on the situation.
The long-rumored Hurts transfer from Alabama feels like a much more real possibility now. That is thanks to some pointed comments his father gave in an interview with Bleacher Report. It makes it pretty clear that Hurts will leave if he doesn't win the starting job.
That process was thrown for a loop by the spring Tua Tagovailoa hand injury. It was unclear if Nick Saban would name a starting quarterback after the spring to begin with. It became impossible, with Tagovailoa shut down and missing the spring game.
However, most probably pencil in the rising sophomore, and hero of last season's national championship, as the favorite to win the starting job. And if that is the case, it sounds like Hurts, who has only lost two games as starter at Alabama, is probably gone.
Averion Hurts spoke to B/R's Bill Eichenberger. He didn't go so far as to say that his son's transfer was a done deal, but it is pretty clearly on the table.
“Coach Saban’s job is to do what’s best for his team. I have no problem with that,” Averion Hurts said. “My job is to do what’s best for Jalen—and make no mistake, Jalen is a quarterback, and he wants to play quarterback. He loves Alabama, loves Coach Saban and everything about that place. But he wants to play, and he will play…”
Averion stops mid-sentence because the idea of his son not playing for Alabama isn’t one he takes lightly. What if Jalen doesn’t win the job, he is asked?
He shakes his head slowly, answers begrudgingly. “Well, he’d be the biggest free agent in college football history.”
Hurts has won a lot of games at Alabama, and Tagovailoa has won one, which he entered at halftime. There is no guarantee that he doesn't win the starting job entering the year. With Tua's injury, the battle could very well extend into the year (and secretly, that may be what Nick Saban wants, to prevent a transfer).
If we do see a Jalen Hurts transfer, where will he end up? Earlier this year, Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples laid out some options.
Would the Houston-area native head back to his home state and play in the Big 12? He’d fit well in the offenses at Texas and TCU. If he were to watch video of Quinton Flowers playing for Willie Taggart at South Florida, he might be intrigued by the idea of playing in that offense for Taggart at Florida State.
Hurts is a native of Channelview, Texas, just outside Houston. Texas A&M is the most local Power Five program, and one that was the main competition to Alabama in his recruitment. It is highly unlikely that he will be allowed to become an Aggie though, as he would then face Alabama every year.
Greg McElroy also thinks the Longhorns are a strong option, should Jalen Hurts transfer. From an interview with The Dan Patrick Show earlier in the year:
“I think that’s a real possibility,” McElroy said of a potential Hurts transfer. “He’s from Texas and the Texas Longhorns are in the quarterback market. And, by the way, he didn’t redshirt. So when he does transfer– if he does– and I would assume that’s what he will do because he’s a quarterback and it’s hard to go to a guy and say ‘You mind playing outside linebacker? Are you good moving to running back?’ Not a lot of guys take kindly to that move, especially at the collegiate level.
TCU has a recent history of using dual-threat quarterbacks like Hurts well, and the Horned Frogs are a pretty consistent program in his home state. There are few coaches with a better reputation than Gary Patterson.
Florida State is also very intriguing. Willie Taggart turned Quinton Flowers into one of the most dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks in college football during his time at USF. He accounted for 11,739 total yards as a Bull.
There's a chance that Hurts could also drop down to a smaller school, although he probably won't need to. However, Houston has been a Group of Five power, turning into one of the best schools outside of the Power Five under Tom Herman. Also, keep an eye on whatever happens with Lane Kiffin. FAU may not land Jalen Hurts, but if he plays out the year at Alabama, and Kiffin moves on to a bigger job, which is definitely in play, that could be an option. Kiffin was one of the lead recruiters for Hurts at Alabama, and obviously got a lot out of him as offensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide. It wouldn't be shocking to see Jalen Hurts transfer and join Kiffin at a bigger school, if he moves on from FAU to a Power Five job.