The future of Jalen Hurts continues to be the talk of the college football world, after the Athletic’s Aaron Suttles reported Hurts is expected to redshirt for the 2018 season. The new NCAA rule allows Hurts to play in up to four games while still giving the player the opportunity to redshirt for the season. Radio host Pat Smith detailed the news on Twitter.
“Our own @AaronSuttles tells us expect Jalen Hurts to be redshirted this season unless Tua is injured,” Smith tweeted.
This leaves the option open for Hurts to play this season if Alabama’s “unofficial” starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is injured. The writing on the wall is that a redshirt season would give Hurts more eligibility if he transfers to another school. Alabama’s worst nightmare could play out as Auburn would be a prime transfer candidate. Hurts’ father Averion Hurts told Bleacher Report back in April his son would be a massive “free agent” if he lost the Crimson Tide starting job.
“Well, he’d be the biggest free agent in college football history,” Averion Hurts noted to Bleacher Report.
Why Auburn Could Be a Perfect Fit for Jalen Hurts
There are going to be no shortage of teams who are going to be lining up for Hurts’ services after the season. Expect Auburn to be at the top of the list. Credit Podcast Ain’t Played Nobody for discussing this idea during the offseason.
Hurts fits Gus Malzahn’s offense perfectly, and the Tigers would have an open spot if current starter Jarrett Stidham heads to the NFL after the season as many expect he will. Auburn showed a willingness to go after transfers when Stidham joined the Tigers after his initial stop at Baylor. Hurts has played the role of the good soldier after Tagovailoa’s success, but don’t you think he has just a little ounce of pettiness that would love to stick it to Nick Saban and Alabama?
The clearest way to do that is transferring to Auburn, and Alabama would not have the power to block the move thanks to the NCAA’s revised transfer rule. Count Tim Tebow as one of the people who believes Hurts to Auburn makes a lot of sense.
“I think there are so many question marks about it,” Tebow said on The Paul Finebaum Show per 247 Sports. “Do you redshirt him? Do you try to keep him around? Is he going to redshirt and then go to another school next year? Does he go to a program that fits him? God forbid, for Alabama fans, does he go to Auburn next year? Stidham leaves and he goes in. He’s a perfect fit for Gus Malzahn’s system, right? So it depends on what his relationship is like with Saban. You can see that Saban cares about this kid. That’s something I’ve appreciated. He’s gone out of his way to lift him up, not bash him, and give him a chance. I think that will go a long way for Jalen, as well.”
Suttles recently detailed Hurts options, and why Saban is in a predicament by having two good quarterbacks on the Alabama roster.
The key words there are “in the future.” What’s hanging over Hurts’ head, and Saban’s too, to an extent, is the new rule that allows a player to participate in up to four games and still be redshirted. Given that Hurts graduates in December and could transfer and have two years to play elsewhere if he redshirts, instead of one, it’s the rather large elephant in the room.
If that’s something that’s important to Hurts, and I’ve been led to believe it is, would he entertain not going into the game this week? I’m not suggesting he wouldn’t. But if Alabama has the game well in hand and has an opportunity to play its backups, does Saban insert Hurts or redshirt freshman Mac Jones? It’s an odd situation, with Saban navigating a new redshirt rule while also balancing the hopes and wants of Hurts, whom Saban clearly is fond of.
Alabama has their quarterback of the future in Tagovailo, and Hurts’ days in Tuscaloosa are clearly numbered. The question is whether Hurts could pull off the ultimate heel turn by transferring to enemy territory.