Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts has entered the NCAA’s transfer protocol, according to Barton Simmons of CBS Sports. Hurts would be eligible to play immediately for a Football Bowl Sub-division program as a grad transfer. With his former offensive coordinator Mike Locksley now the head coach of Maryland, there’s a good chance Hurts could follow to College Park.
As a freshman Hurts led Alabama to the National Championship Game, completing 62.8 percent of his passes for 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns against nine interceptions in 15 games. As a sophomore he completed 60.4 percent of his passes for 2,081 yards and 17 touchdowns against one interception in 14 games. That season he guided the Crimson Tide to a second straight National Championship Game, but was benched in the second half against Georgia in favor of Tua Tagovailoa.
Alabama went on to rally to win the national championship and Hurts effectively lost his starting job to the Tagovailoa. He decided against transferring before the 2018 season as he backed up Tagovailoa.
Hurts appeared in 13 games, mostly mop-up duty, completing 72.9 percent of his passes and throwing eight touchdowns against two interceptions on 70 attempts. He also helped the Crimson Tide secure the SEC Championship over Georgia, filling in for an injured Tagovailoa by completing 7-of-9 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown while rushing for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Maryland has question marks at quarterback with last season’s starter Kasim Hill suffering his second torn ACL of his collegiate career in November.
It’s safe to assume Hurts understands Locksley’s system and he’d be a great fill-in fit to get Maryland acclimated to the offense and style of play. He is a safe passer that has legs to create and extend plays. As a freshman he rushed for 954 yards and 13 touchdowns. As a sophomore he had 855 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground.
While there’s an automatic assumption of the Locksley’s connection, due diligence would inquire about Hurts’ benching at Alabama. How was Locksley involved in that decision? Could his handling of the situation affected his relationship with Hurts?
Then there is the intrigue at other programs. Auburn may give Hurts the opportunity to start right away and places him at a chance to exact revenge against his former program Alabama. Houston has a new head coach in Dana Holgorsen and a higher profile than Maryland even though it’s not a Power 5 program.
Going to Arizona subjects him to another spring battle for the starting job with Khalil Tate, who opted to return to the Wildcats after considering transferring. TCU has an opening at starting quarterback with Shawn Robinson opting to transfer, but Mike Collins could present a challenge for Hurts to start.
While Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State remain the titans of the Big Ten East, adding Hurts would be a huge upgrade for Maryland with Locksley guiding him. At Maryland he will have the opportunity to continue to develop as a passer in hopes of extending his playing future professionally.