2. Q: Can Jalen Hurts really be the Next Quarterback Up in the Oklahoma system?
He might not be a pocket-passing gunslinger like many Big 12 quarterbacks, but it’s not like Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray were Tom Brady-like statues.
Hurts isn’t the ideal passer in terms of tools to fit into the Lincoln Riley system – Utah State’s Jordan Love would be really, really interesting running this thing – but he’s smart, he’s experienced, he’s an ultimate leader, and everyone seems to blow off one key part to his game – he can throw.
He’s not Tua Tagovailoa. He doesn’t have that uncanny accuracy, and he doesn’t have the drive on the deep passes, but he was more than accurate enough for the Crimson Tide. hitting 63% of his career throws averaging eight yards per attempt.
No, he’s not going to push the ball down the field like Murray or Mayfield did, but he’s also not going to make a whole slew of mistakes, throwing just 12 picks with his 48 touchdown passes in his his two-plus years with the Crimson Tide.
Make the right read, make things happen on the move, get the ball to the really fast guys in stride in space, and watch them go. Hurts can absolutely do that.
The guy who ran for almost 2,000 yards with 23 touchdowns can run a bit, too.
And then there’s the unquantifiable IT factor.
It takes IT to run Nick Saban’s national championship-caliber team as a freshman.
It takes IT to almost pull the team out of the fire with what would’ve gone down as one of the biggest clutch drives and touchdown runs in college football history in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship against Clemson – but that Deshaun Watson guy had other ideas.
It takes IT to come off the bench cold – and a bit banged up – and lead Alabama to an SEC Championship like he did against Georgia last season.
It takes a certain guy to be able to follow that, and Hurts is certainly it.