Not often does a number one team in the country have two true freshmen in it’s starting line up, and especially on the same side of the ball.
Alabama has true freshman Jonah Williams starting at Right Tackle and he just might be their top Offensive Lineman right now. At the moment, Williams is looking better than Left Tackle Cam Robinson who should go in the top 10 of the NFL Draft.
But, Quarterback Jalen Hurts is another true freshman that starts on their offense. It’s really rare for a true freshman to start at Quarterback even for a bad team, but Alabama is Alabama and one of the very best programs in the country.
In their 2015 recruiting class, the Crimson Tide signed Blake Barnett from Corona, California who many had as the top Quarterback in the country. They also have Cooper Bateman and David
Cornwell. The 2016 recruiting class signed a 4 star Dual Threat Quarterback out of Channelview, Texas named Jalen Hurts.
Blake Barnett started their first game against USC and the offense just stalled. When they inserted Jalen Hurts, everything changed for the Crimson Tide and Hurts took over the job.
In the Tide’s opening game against USC, Hurts came in and threw 2 nice Touchdown passes to get the route going as they embarrassed the once proud Trojans, 52-6. He only completed 6 out of 11 passes and he had an Interception. But, the pick didn’t hurt the team at all. His spark got the offense rolling. He also ran for 32 yards and 2 more Touchdowns.
In Alabama’s second game, against a decent Western Kentucky team that is well coached, Hurts looked better throwing the football. He completed 23 out of 36 passes for 287 yards and 2 Touchdowns. He also avoided any Interceptions, and he hasn’t thrown any since the opening game.
The Hilltoppers did hold him to 19 yards rushing. But, the Crimson Tide won, 38-10 and hardly needed any running yardage out of Hurts.
Jalen Hurts is about 6-2, 210 and has a strong arm. He can throw really well on the run which might be his biggest strength. He is a true Dual Threat Quarterback, which means he can run really well. But, he’s not going to remind anyone of Lamar Jackson as far as explosiveness. He’s more of a power runner type of guy.
Whatever kind of runner he is, the Touchdown throw he completed against the USC Trojans on opening day was a thing of beauty.
Hurts had a rather pedestrian day against Ole Miss. It was the Bama defense that led them from a 3-24 deficit against the Rebels. It’s unbelievable to say that the defense helped when they gave up 43 points. But, that’s sort of what happened in that game. Much publicity towards this game went with the theme that Ole Miss had beaten Alabama two times in a row. After Ole Miss got blown out in the second half against Florida State, most thought that Alabama would have an easy time with them.
But, early on, it appeared that Ole Miss just had their number.
Alabama was having nothing of it and they came roaring back to take a fairly big lead before Ole Miss scored again to make it interesting.
The Crimson Tide held on and impressed enough against a quality opponent to strengthen their hold on the top ranking in the Polls.
In that game, new Quarterback Hurts hit 19 out of 31 passes for 158 yards, but no Touchdowns.
But, where he distinguished himself was on the ground when he ran for 146 yards on 18 carries.
Last week, it was back to weaker competition with Nick Saban’s school coming to town, Kent State. Saban is little, but apparently he was a determined small fella and he played at Kent State for Don James who became something of a legend with the Washington Huskies. Alabama fans can thank Don James for Nick Saban’s style of coaching, but James passed away several years ago.
Clearly, Kent State of the MAC, was not match for the top team in the country and the Crimson Tide routed them, 48-0.
Hurts started the game, but back up Blake Barnett got some meaningful snaps as well and completed 4 out of 7 passes for 5 yards and a Touchdown.
Hurts was impressive again and completed 16 out of 24 passes for 164 yards and a score. He also ran for 54 yards and another Touchdown.
After 4 games, Hurts has thrown for 727 yards and 5 Touchdowns against only 1 Interception. He added 251 rushing yards and 3 more Touchdowns.
Going into game 5 against Kentucky, back up Quarterback Blake Barnett has left the team and he
may finish out the season at a Junior College if that will work legally.
That’s the way of the Quarterback in this era. If you aren’t starting, go somewhere else. In his defense, Jalen Hurts has become the man and Barnett’s playing time will get less and less. Or, maybe he just didn’t like it at Alabama.
Right now, I see Jalen Hurts as a blossoming college super star. I don’t see him as a top NFL prospect, so maybe he will stick around and play 4 years. Alabama will be dangerous for years to come with Hurts at Quarterback. It will also be interesting watching Nick Saban and and seeing how many more years he will coach.
Cooper Bateman should be the top back up this year. Alabama has a commitment from Tua Tagovailoa from Honolulu, Hawaii who is the top ranked Dual Threat Quarterback in the nation for 2017.
Alabama will never be lacking in talent as long as Saban is around, and Jalen Hurts is a talent.