So, um, interesting day in Norman.
*Let’s start with the quarterbacks who will be playing for Oklahoma in 2019: Ex-Alabama signal caller Jalen Hurts is coming to OU and will be starting behind center for the Sooners in the fall.
My thoughts on the development haven’t changed much since it became apparent this was a possibility. At worst, Hurts will make for a solid bridge-year QB coming off back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners manning the position. At best, Hurts can play a vital role in the Sooners returning to the College Football Playoff for a third straight time.
*Hurts’ decision prompted speculation about Spencer Rattler’s feelings on the matter in light of this quote from a couple weeks back:
If you’ve been following OU at all in the last month, you know that Rattler was talking about the potential of the Sooners going after Justin Fields, the ultra-talented Georgia transfer and new Ohio State QB. Fields still has three years of eligibility left, so that would obviously be of interest to a five-star freshman who wants to get on the field sooner than later. As a one-and-done, adding Hurts to the QB room is a different story.
In fact, the Sooners effectively traded one upperclassman with two years eligibility, Austin Kendall, for another who’s gone in 12 months. If anything, Rattler’s path to the starting job just became much clearer.
*Which brings us to the most sordid affair of the day. There is no way around it: OU did Kendall dirty by trying to block his transfer to West Virginia.
Sure, OU was within its rights under the rules to restrict Kendall’s ability to transfer with immediate eligibility, and I get why Lincoln Riley would have concerns about his former player spilling secrets to another team in the Big 12. That doesn’t mean it was appropriate, especially for a player who did the good soldier routine for three years.
I have to admit it’s also worrisome that Riley apparently didn’t give much weight to the possibility this could blow up on him. It wasn’t so long ago that Nick Saban caught flack for a similar stunt.
Like the SEC, I have to assume the Big 12 will set guidelines soon prohibiting teams from blocking graduate transfers within the conference. It will be interesting to see what happens if a high-profile player moves up the food chain as a one-year rental, as opposed to a reserve leaving a powerhouse for a mid-tier team. That seems inevitable.