Not that it comes as much of a surprise, but No. 4 Oklahoma on Monday formally announced graduate transfer Jalen Hurts as its starting quarterback for the 2019 season. Hurts, who spent the first three years of his college career at Alabama and started at quarterback for the Crimson Tide from 2016-17, lost his job to Tua Tagovailoa last season but still played in 13 games.
It's the second high-profile quarterback announcement of the day. Ohio State also announced that Justin Fields, a Georgia transfer,. Auburn is also expected to announce its starting quarterback soon.
Hurts, who was competing against five-star freshman Spencer Rattler, was 26-2 as a starter with the Crimson Tide and named the SEC's Offensive Player of the Year as a freshman with the Tide in 2016. Despite losing his job to Tagovailoa last season, Hurts is known as a gifted runner and terrific game manager. Hurts also showed off impressive development as a passer when he relieved Tagovailoa in the SEC title game, going 7-of-9 passing for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Perhaps most importantly, in a transfer such as this, Hurts is also the type of player who immediately gained the respect of the Okahoma locker room. He was routinely praised by both the Alabama coaching staff and his teammates for his loyalty and maturity, none so more than by Tagovailoa himself. Hurts left Alabama with with 5,626 career yards passing, 1,976 yards rushing and 71 total touchdowns.
Hurts, who has played in three College Football Playoff National Championships, will look to become the third straight transfer to shine at quarterback for the Sooners. He has plenty of pressure on his shoulders considering his predecessors -- Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray -- both went on to win the Heisman Trophy and were selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft. However, Hurts has plenty of weapons around him this year, including the one-two combo of Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon in the backfield. Star wideout CeeDee Lamb is also back as a top receiving target.
Oklahoma opens the 2019 season on Sunday, Sept. 1 against Houston, and Hurts just so happens to be from the Houston area. The Sooners are once again the preseason favorite to take home the Big 12 championship with playoff expectations to boot.