When Jalen Hurts decided his time at Alabama had come to an end following the 2018 season, the talented quarterback decided to explore a handful of options. Most notably, Hurts was considering Oklahoma, Maryland and Miami as potential landing spots to complete his career.
A year later, we know how the story ended. Hurts went to play for Lincoln Riley and the Sooners, throwing for 3,851 yards and 32 touchdowns while rushing for 1,298 more and 20 additional touchdowns. He guided Oklahoma to a 12-2 record, a Big 12 title and another appearance in the College Football Playoff.
None of that may have happened if not for Hurts’ former head coach Nick Saban.
In a story from AL.com, Saban explains how the transfer process went for Hurts, and how he helped guide the quarterback to Oklahoma. That’s right, despite having former assistant coaches Mike Locksley take over at Maryland and Dan Enos leave for Miami, Saban suggested the Sooners were the best fit for Hurts.
I said ‘Jalen, where do they have the best players?’ because he felt more comfortable going where he knew these guys. And he said ‘Well, I think they have the best players at Oklahoma.’ I said we just played them, and they have some pretty good players on offense too. …
I said I’ve always told you quarterback is a hard position to play if you don’t have good players around you,” Saban said in the interview with the Eagles. “So, if I was you, in order to create the most value because you have one year to do it, if you know you can be the starter there, go where they have the best players.’
That’s no disrespect to anybody else, the guys that worked here and did a great job here, it’s what’s best for you. That’s how you have to make this decision right now. He did it and I think did a great job for Oklahoma.
To Saban’s credit, Hurts probably would not have enjoyed the same amount of team success had he committed to play at Maryland or Miami. He surely could’ve helped both offenses tremendously last season, though.
Hurts was selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 53rd pick.