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Nick Saban Has Surprising Response To Question About Jalen Hurts

Jalen Hurts of the Alabama Crimson Tide and head coach Nick Saban celebrate thier win after the AllState Sugar Bowl against the Clemson Tigers.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01: Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide and head coach Nick Saban celebrate thier win after the AllState Sugar Bowl against the Clemson Tigers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

While it looks like he'll be on the roster this fall, Jalen Hurts transfer rumors have been floating since the spring. Saban addressed them today, sort of, and his quote is pretty peculiar.

Saban spoke at SEC Media Days this afternoon, and was prickly as ever. He didn't want to discuss his quarterback battle at all, quipping that the media "created" the controversy.

At this point, it seems very probably that Hurts will be in Tuscaloosa this fall. His competition for the job, Tua Tagovailoa, missed most of the spring due to injury.

Tagovailoa, Alabama's national championship game hero, is favored to win the job eventually. However, it doesn't seem like a winner will be named ahead of the season.

Still, when the topic of a Jalen Hurts was broached, Nick Saban had a very interesting quote about the quarterback.

Saban was asked if he expected Hurts to be on the roster come Week 1. The start to his answer: "I have no idea." From AL.com:

Does he expect Jalen Hurts to be on the Crimson Tide roster when the team flies to Orlando for the season opener with Louisville?

"I have no idea," Saban said. "I expect him to be there. I think it's our job to give both players a very fair opportunity to have a chance to win the job at their position. ... We'll create a role for one or both of those guys on our team and they'll all have to make a decision based on what that outcome is as to what their future is at Alabama. We certainly want every player to stay at the University of Alabama and graduate. Jalen has a great opportunity to do that in December so we are hopeful he will stay there and be a graduate regardless of his circumstances as a player. But that's not to minimize his chances of making a starter or making a great contribution to our team in some way even if he isn't the starter."

The rest of Saban's answer makes it seem like Hurts will be there, as is expected. However, the fact that he lead off the way he did introduces at least a bit of doubt.

From there, it definitely sounds like if he doesn't win the job, a Jalen Hurts transfer is almost guaranteed. As Saban notes, he is set to graduate in December, and from there, he'll be one of the most sought-after graduate transfers in college football history.

[AL.com]