Where did Jalen Hurts play college football? When was he drafted?
As the Eagles clash with the 49ers for the right to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, we take a look at Jalen Hurts’ background
Much has been written in recent weeks about the standout play from the San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, and rightly so. His story is the drama that underlines all great NFL storylines. But in all of the melée around his rise to fame, let us not forget the man that he will line up against in the NFC Championship Game.
Jalen Hurts, college star
Jalen Hurts is a bona fide NFL star, the solid steel backbone of this Philadelphia Eagles offense, and his rise is no less worthy of awe than Purdy’s.
As a high school standout in Channelview, Texas, a solid lower-middle income suburb of Houston, Hurts was a four-star recruit and dual-threat quarterback who resisted the advances of Texas A&M to sign with Alabama.
He became the first true freshman to start for the Crimson Tide since 1984, and kicked off his collegiate career with a bang, earning the SEC Offensive Player of the Year award.
Alabama went 14-1 that year and lost a last-second thriller to Clemson in the 2017 College Football Playoff Championship Game.
Starting again throughout his sophomore year, Hurts and the Tide made the Playoff Championship Game, where coach Nick Saban decided to bench him at halftime after a poor start against Georgia. It may be that Saban caught the bug for playing true freshmen, because Hurts was replaced by another one in Tua Tagovailoa, who sparked a second-half comeback to win the national championship.
Hurts would never start another game at Alabama. He stayed in Tuscaloosa the following year and served as the backup to Tagovailoa, coming on in the 2018 SEC Championship game against Georgia for an injured Tua and leading the Crimson Tide to victory.
Before his senior year started, and noting that Tua had the starting job at Alabama, Jalen decided to transfer to Oklahoma where he threw for 3,851 yards and 32 touchdowns for the Sooners that season and finished as a Heisman Trophy finalist.
In the 2020 NFL draft, the Eagles took Hurts 53rd overall in the second round. Rather than choosing to wear the number 2 jersey, his Alabama number, Hurts opted to go with number 1, the number that he wore in Norman, Oklahoma.
“I always wore number 2 but when I went to Oklahoma, obviously CeeDee Lamb wore number 2, and he offered to give me the number but I didn’t want it, too much respect for him as a player so I ended up wearing number 1 and I liked how it looked on me so I kept it.” says Hurts.
In the NFL lineups announcements, you will often hear Jalen Hurts introduced as “Jalen Hurts, Channelview High School”. This is not a slight to either Alabama or Oklahoma, but in fact is his way of showing respect to both programs, by choosing neither he is actually choosing both.
To lose the starting job and then have to claw your way back up, that is drama. And that is what the NFL is all about.
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