The player who would be the “biggest free agent in college football history” is one step closer to coming onto the market.
According to 247Sports.com‘s Barton Simmons, Jalen Hurts‘ name is now listed in the NCAA transfer portal system. The move allows other football programs to contact the quarterback without receiving permission from Alabama first.
While the move doesn’t necessarily mean Hurts will definitely transfer — he could always remove his name and return to the Crimson Tide — it has in the past usually ended with the player moving on to another school.
Hurts graduated from Alabama in December, meaning he could move on to another FBS program and be immediately eligible to play in 2019. The upcoming season will be the true junior’s final year of eligibility.
Given his experience and success at this level, Hurts is expected to be one of the most sought-after commodities on the free-agent market.
Hurts started every game but one in 2016 and 2017, guiding the Crimson Tide to a 26-2 record in that span. He was under center for the national championship game loss to Clemson after the 2016 season, and was in the same spot for last year’s title game against Georgia until a 13-0 halftime deficit compelled Nick Saban to pull the trigger on a change.
And the rest, as they say, is history, as Tua Tagovailoa played a significant role in a second-half comeback that was capped by the then-true freshman’s game-winning touchdown pass in the first overtime. Amidst criticism from Hurts himself, Tagovailoa won the job ahead of the 2018 season kicking off and, after finishing runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting, led the Tide into another title game loss to the Tigers earlier this month.
As Tagovailoa will be a true junior in 2019 and is firmly entrenched as the starter, that combination of factors triggered Hurts’ decision to at least explore a transfer.
As for potential landing spots? There are a handful of places that make sense, but there’s been a significant amount of speculation over the past few weeks that rival Auburn, which is losing its starting quarterback to the NFL and has no clear-cut replacement in-house, is very much a viable option.