Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray won the Heisman trophy (and going number 1 overall in the NFL draft) in back to back years, but could Oklahoma make it a Heisman Trophy Hat-trick? Depending on your bookie of choice current Sooner QB Jalen Hurts is ranked anything from joint 1st to 3rd favourite for the 2019 Heisman award.
Although by no means knowledgable about the college game, I felt compelled to have a further look at the Oklahoma Sooners latest QB sensation.
Prior to Mayfield and Murray’s wins, the last college to produce back to back winners was USC back in 2004-05. QB Matt Leinart and RB Reggie Bush were the successful duo. However, Bush would eventually give up his win. This followed a controversy in which the Bush family were alleged to have received gifts contravening the NCAA policies.
We have to go back to the immediate post-WW2 years for the only other repeat college winners. 1945 & 1946 saw the Army Cadets FB Doc Blanchard and HB Glenn Davis claim Heisman honours, respectively
Hurts ups and downs
Like both Mayfield and Murray, Hurts was not recruited out of high school by Oklahoma. He is a transfer from Alabama, following losing his starting slot to Tua Tagovailoa. After being the Crimson Tide’s first true freshman starter in 32 years, he then went 13-1 in his sophomore season. However, he was benched at halftime in the National Championship win over Georgia. His time in Tuscaloosa seemed up.
He, however stayed another year in Alabama. Although playing back up to Tua, he was still able to see some game time and threw for 8 TDs
Becoming a Sooner
Jalen Hurts transerred to Oklahoma for his final year of college eligibility. As he had completed his BA before transfer, he was able to start straight away under graduate transfer rules.
And what a start! Hurts, on his debut, shattered Baker Mayfield’s program record when he racked up 493 yards of total offence against the Houston Cougars.
The Sooners followed this up with another 6 wins on the spin, including a 34 to 27 win in the much vaunted Red River Rivalry against the Texas Longhorns. This streak came to an end this week with a loss to the Kansas State Wildcats.
Hurts statline is impressive. His pass completion percentage and rushing yards totals outstrip both Mayfield and Murray in their Heisman winnig years. Again, Oklahoma leads college football in offensive yards as they did in 2017 and 2018, with an absurd 612.9 yards and around 50 points per game.
Sooners headcoach Lincoln Riley is breathing rareified air. To have 3 Quarterbacks in successive seasons in contention for college football’s top individual prize is phenomenal. Surely the pros will come knocking soon, particularly with the way the pro game is evolving.
Jalen Hurts may not win the big one, particuarly if current favourite LSU’s Joe Burrow continues his blistering start to the season.
However, come draft time Hurts may be the one celebrating. An Oklahoma QB, transferred from elsewhere, not talked about as a top prospect at the start of the year, flying up draft boards as the year goes on. Now, where have we heard that story before?