Jalen Hurts announced today that he would be leaving the Crimson Tide and transferring to play at Oklahoma next season. Since the QB graduated from Alabama already, he can use his final season of NCAA eligibility for the Sooners without having to sit a year. In an essay at the Players’ Tribune, someone with Hurts’s approval wrote, “I’ve decided to take my talents to the University of Oklahoma, where I will continue my development as both a quarterback and as a student.”
Given his experience on a perennial playoff team, Hurts will almost certainly be the starter for Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley. The backup QB likely would have been Austin Kendall, but he’s planning to transfer to West Virginia, a sensible choice given that so far he’s spent his college career behind Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Kendall has two years of eligibility left as well as his degree from Oklahoma, so he’d also get to transfer as a graduate.
However, according to ESPN’s Jake Trotter, the Sooners are blocking Kendall from becoming immediately eligible upon his arrival in Morgantown. Hurts will be immediately eligible, and a new SEC rule allows graduates to transfer within the conference without having to sit out for a year. The Big 12 doesn’t have a rule like that, though:
Oklahoma, however, still reserves the right under NCAA rules to keep Kendall from becoming immediately eligible at West Virginia, another Big 12 school, for the 2019 season, even though he has earned his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma.
The Sooners have benefited with not one, but two Heisman-winning transfers in the last two seasons. Mayfield came from fellow conference member Texas Tech, and Oklahoma even had to lobby the Big 12 to tweak its transfer regulations to Mayfield to play his final year with the Sooners!
Kendall is set on leaving either way, as he’s already entered the wonderfully named transfer portal and withdrawn from classes at OU. He’ll need to find a new school rather quickly to get involved in spring practices. The only fair thing for Oklahoma to do would be to let him go wherever the hell he wants.
Update (7:40 p.m. ET): Oklahoma has changed its mind: