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Take Two: How much should Sooners expect of Jalen Hurts?

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Jalen Hurts (AP Images)

Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling an issue in the college football landscape. National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and a local expert from the network of team sites.

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Oklahoma has had tremendous recent success with transfer quarterbacks, as both Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray were fantastic for the Sooners. Mayfield was the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft and Murray could be as well, if not taken early in the first round. Both won the Heisman Trophy.

So here comes Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts, who’s competing for the starting job at Oklahoma and is expected to take over next season. He had great numbers for the Crimson Tide, won a ton of games and led Alabama to the national title game but Tua Tagovailoa won that job and Hurts had to look for a new home.

The situation in Norman could not be much better. Hurts will have plenty of skill players around him, including one of the best receivers in college football next season, CeeDee Lamb. He will be coached by one of the most innovative minds in the game, Lincoln Riley. The offensive line is a work in progress after losing many key pieces after last season, but should be more than serviceable come the season.

The question for Oklahoma in its quest to return to the College Football Playoff is how will the defense be transformed under new coordinator Alex Grinch, if at all. And what are realistic expectations for Hurts, whether it’s making himself a first-round draft pick possibility, being in the Heisman discussion, leading the Sooners back to the playoff? Or are those expectations far too high for the Alabama transfer?


“No one is talking like anyone other than Hurts is going to be the quarterback, even though Riley is certainly going to leave that open. Athletically, seeing him one time out there throwing the ball, Hurts looks great. Quick release and then accuracy and how many throws he can make in that offense will be determined. I just think with a young offensive line that they have, they’re going to need somebody who’s pretty mobile and can take a little bit of a beating because he’s not going to have the perfect offensive line.

“They will still be an offense that scores 40 points a game. It goes back to the defense. Can Grinch get those guys to play at a high enough level where they’re only giving up 20 points a game? Lamb is a stud, and he’ll be a high draft pick. We’ll see how all the five-stars work out. They have a lot of talent on the offensive line, and Bill Bedenbaugh has a great reputation. They will be good enough on offense, it will go back to the defense.”


“Hurts had success at Alabama and he was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year and then he lost his job and a lot of people look at him as a J.T. Barrett-type. What are you going to get out of him? He plays for a power program. If he has a good year, he’s going to be in the Heisman discussion. But if he has one or two games that are erratic that lead to losses, you’ll have that question mark.

“Can he throw the ball consistently, instead of just running it? He’s a better quarterback than Barrett when it comes to throwing the ball, but he’s still unpolished. I don’t see a Heisman Trophy for him, and I don’t see a national championship for him at Oklahoma, but I do think he’ll be pretty successful there.”