Should Alabama fans be able to claim Jalen Hurts amid Eagles success?

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

There is some debate over if Alabama can claim Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts’ success at the professional level after having transferred over to Oklahoma first.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts starred in college both at Alabama and Oklahoma.

Given what he did in his four years split between Tuscaloosa and Norman from 2016 to 2019, Hurts is in rarified air as a universally beloved former college star. Though it was a tad shocking for the Eagles to use a second-round pick on him in 2020, Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman was proven right in his assessment of the quarterback prospect. He is their team’s MVP.

Even though Hurts was drafted out of Oklahoma, Alabama fans do have every right to claim him.

Why Alabama fans should be allowed to claim Jalen Hurts as one of their own

As a true freshman, Hurts led the Crimson Tide back to the College Football Playoff, earning SEC Offensive Player of the Year in the process. Although Alabama fell to Deshaun Watson’s Clemson Tigers in their national championship rematch, he would play a huge part in the Crimson Tide beating Georgia in the national title a season later. This is when it started to get a bit complicated…

Hurts was Alabama’s starter heading into his sophomore season in 2017. Although the Crimson Tide did not win the SEC West that year after losing to arch-rival Auburn, Alabama would make it back to the College Football Playoff. They wiped the floor with Clemson in the Sugar Bowl before beating arguably a more talented Georgia team in Atlanta to be crowned champions once again.

Of course, Hurts got benched at halftime in favor of five-star freshman phenom Tua Tagovailoa. Second-and-26 later, and Hurts found himself out of a starting job. Tagovailoa would emerge as the Crimson Tide starter in 2018 with Hurts serving as his backup. With Tagovailoa struggling in the SEC Championship Game vs. Georgia, Saban would turn to Hurts, and he was rewarded for it.

Although Alabama lost the national championship that year to Trevor Lawrence’s Clemson team, nobody had any issues with Hurts hitting the portal and heading to Oklahoma to play for Lincoln Riley. The noted quarterback whisperer was coming off back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners with Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Hurts was not much of a passer, but that quickly changed…

Had Joe Burrow not had one of the greatest single seasons in college football history, Hurts would have won the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma, making it three in a row for the Sooners. He was named Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year and finished runner-up to Burrow for college football’s most distinguished award. Too bad Hurts’ Sooners were only Tiger bait in the semifinals.

While Oklahoma’s claim of Hurts is obvious and merited, Alabama has just as much right to claim him as well. Although he would not have been a second-round pick had he played out his last year of eligibility in Tuscaloosa, his grit and leadership traits were forged long before he hit the transfer portal. Hurts was part of a championship team and is an ideal ambassador for Alabama football.

Ultimately, as it is with any player of note who transfers, every claim-staking case is different. Because he had great success at both schools, Alabama and Oklahoma can claim Hurts, much like North Carolina State and Wisconsin can claim Russell Wilson. Hurts does go down in the record books as being an Oklahoma draftee, but anyone can tell you that he meant a ton to Alabama, too.

With no pro team in their state, look for Alabama fans to root on one of their own this weekend.

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