With Kyler Murray’s departure for the NFL seemingly imminent, the Oklahoma Sooners’ quarterback competition for 2019 unofficially began this weekend. It might have ended, too.
Multiple media reports placed coveted Alabama graduate transfer Jalen Hurts in Norman on Saturday to visit with Lincoln Riley. Oh, and OU’s rising senior Austin Kendall is now exploring a transfer of his own.
Interestingly, while Hurts is touring QB-needy schools this weekend, OU is the only program on the itinerary that doesn’t have a previous tie to the one-time SEC offensive player of the year. Hurts was at Maryland with his former offensive coordinator Mike Locksley on Friday night. Word is that he will hit is Miami on Sunday to check in with Dan Enos, the Hurricanes’ new offensive coordinator and Hurts’ quarterbacks coach at Bama last season.
Frankly, I was surprised to hear that OU had an interest in Hurts. We really haven’t seen much from him to indicate he’s the type of thrower Riley prefers running his offense. Meanwhile, the buzz on Kendall over time has been fairly positive. Not to mention, five-star freshman Spencer Rattler is looming in the background along with second-year QB Tanner Mordecai.
The Hurts news betrays Riley’s level of confidence in those options. After all, given his lack of playing time, Kendall’s development has been taken on faith. Mordecai doesn’t strike anyone as the type of prospect who needs to be thrust into the lineup as a redshirt freshman.
Rattler’s talent is undeniable, of course. Seeing as he isn’t coming to campus until the summer, his high ceiling would likely come with some serious bumps in 2019.
Adding Hurts would give the Sooners a proven field general to shepherd the offense through a bridge year to the start of the Rattler era. Hurts’ mobility and stature seem like pluses in light of the overhaul taking place on OU’s offensive line, and Riley can come up with a myriad of ways to leverage his running ability within the offensive scheme.
From that standpoint, pursuing Hurts makes more than enough sense. He might even solidify OU as the Big 12’s team to beat in the fall.