Jalen Hurts has gone from winning a national championship at Alabama to following in the footsteps of back-to-back Heisman winners at Oklahoma.
His message as he met the media Wednesday for the first time since his transfer: He’s ready for all the pressure and expectations.
“I think this whole situation is unique. Everything about it is unique,” Hurts said at a press conference in Norman, Okla., that lasted slightly longer than 30 minutes. “For me, I know it’s happening to a unique person. I’m not your average Joe. I’m kind of built for these type of situations.”
Hurts threw for 5,626 yards with 48 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in three seasons at Alabama, adding 1,976 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. After losing a 2018 camp battle to sophomore Tua Tagovailoa, Hurts stuck around and cemented his place in Alabama lore when he came off the bench to lead a Crimson Tide comeback against Georgia in the SEC title game.
“I’m wiser, I’m better, stronger for it,” Hurts said.
“Obviously, I didn’t get the snaps (last season). I had limited time there, but I’m at a new place now. New opportunity. Different team, on the same mission.”
The grad transfer is expected to use his dual-threat skills to lead the Sooners, who advanced to the College Football Playoff in each of the past two seasons, first under the direction of 2017 Heisman winner Baker Mayfield and then 2018 Heisman winner Kyler Murray.
“I don’t want to get into comparisons. Baker is Baker. Kyler is Kyler. And I’m me,” Hurts said.
“I think the objective off all of this is everybody wants to achieve their goals, but right now it’s not about me. I’m stepping back from it. The biggest thing about this is achieving what we want as a team.”
Hurts was 26-2 as a starter at Alabama, helping the Crimson Tide win the 2017 national championship, although he was replaced at halftime of the title game against Georgia as Tagovailoa led a comeback in an overtime victory.
Oklahoma also has redshirt freshman Tanner Mordecai in spring camp, with five-star recruit Spencer Rattler arriving in the summer.
“I think I clearly understood what I got myself into, but I also knew I have expectations for myself,” Hurts said. “I always have. I have always been my biggest critic.”