The Oklahoma Sooners have had their best recruiting season since the 2000s. Now, graduate transfers don’t officially count in terms of the recruiting rankings. But, the Sooners received another pledge to their 2019 roster as Jalen Hurts elects to join Oklahoma as a graduate transfer. Hurts, who is a senior, will enroll immediately and bring experience and leadership to a quarterback room that is lacking in just that.
Sooners thin at Quarterback
Oklahoma has found themselves in a bit of precarious position at quarterback. Kyler Murray is going to be a professional athlete in some capacity next season. Now, it remains to be seen if that will be in the Oakland Athletics farm system or on an NFL roster. But, he will not put up residence at Oklahoma next year. That would presumably put Austin Kendall at the forefront. However, on Friday, Kendall indicated that he would be exploring a transfer.
The Sooners were left with one scholarship quarterback ready for the spring. Tanner Mordecai, a redshirt freshman would seemingly have little competition. Now, it’s been rumored that Lincoln Riley preferred Mordecai over Kendall. But, the numbers issue would be a concern. Oklahoma has the best high school quarterback in the country coming in the fall. However, it would be a tough ask for him to be ready to go in that short amount of time. Suffice it to say Oklahoma was looking for additional options.
The Transfer Portal
The new buzzword in college football is the transfer portal. The transfer market for the quarterback position is beginning to look more like free agency than anything ever seen on the college football scene before. There have been many high profile quarterbacks that many though the Sooners would go after. Justin Fields topped that list as most believed he was down to Oklahoma and Ohio State. Riley wasn’t interested in Fields and he moved on to the Buckeyes. Many believe that Riley just didn’t like the situation more than the player. Fields may have to sit next year and could be a multiple year player.
It became increasingly evident that Oklahoma would be looking for a one-year rental. A term that is prevalent in the NBA is starting to become another buzzword in college football as well. That’s when the Hurts noise started to heat up in Norman. Conventional wisdom says Oklahoma would not go an entire season with two scholarship quarterbacks. And, with that Hurts pledged his final college football season to Oklahoma.
Is Hurts a good fit at Oklahoma?
Does Hurts fit the mold as the next Oklahoma quarterback? On the surface, the answer is no. But, once you peel back the layers, it might just be the perfect sit. First, we talked about the situation. And, that’s key for the fit of this transfer. Having Hurts here for just one year helps in a couple of ways. Primarily, sitting and learning behind an experienced quarterback like Hurts will do nothing than help with the maturation of Mordecai and Rattler.
Riley prefers an efficient pocket quarterback with the ability to scramble and be multiple. But, the notion that Riley couldn’t mold Hurts into his guys is preposterous. In their final full seasons before transferring to Oklahoma, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray combined to complete 62% of their passes with 18 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Now, their last season in Norman saw 70% completions, 85 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and two Heisman Trophies. Could Riley be the quarterback whisperer to turn Hurts, who is a career 63% passer, into the next great quarterback at Oklahoma?