Alabama coach praises Jalen Hurts during Monday Night Football with Mannings
Jalen hurt and the Philadelphia Offensive struggled to get into a rhythm for the first half on Monday night against division rivals Dallas Cowboys. But that changed shortly after the Alabama head coach Nick Saban joined Peyton and Eli Manning during the ESPN2 broadcast of Monday Night Football.
As Saban watched, the former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback constructed the Eagles’ first touchdown drive of the game, walking 90 yards in eight games to reduce the deficit to 27-14. The drive was triggered by a big game of hurts on a third and long game with the Eagles standing deep in their own territory. The cowboys quickly came under pressure in the middle, but Hurts managed to avoid a sack and deliver a 41-yard pass to Quez Watkins with another defender in the face.
The third down throw caused Eli to joke that it was “a great game by the former Oklahoma quarterback.” The comment sparked a laugh from Saban, who praised his former quarterback.
“Well, I’m telling you, I have to say this about Jalen. There aren’t very many guys who have ever played college football who played 26-2 as starters and were replaced by Tua, ”said Saban. “And I think it appeals to him that he stayed here for another year and really worked to become a better passer, worked in training every day. And when we played the SEC Championship Game and Tua was injured, he had worked hard all year, he went into the game and won the championship for us. So it speaks a lot about him as a character, his character and the kind of person he is.
“Well, it was a joint decision of ours when he still had a year to play where to go to school. And he asked me where to go and I said, ‘Who has the best players?’ And he said Oklahoma. I said, ‘This is where you should go. As a quarterback, it’s really important to have good players around. I know they have a great system there and you will do well. ‘ And I think he did really well there and that’s why he now had the opportunity to play in the league. “
Hurts is in his second season with the Eagles, who picked him No. 53 overall in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he saw plenty of action after starter Carson Wentz was benched, appeared in 15 games with four starts, and completed 77 of 148 passes (52.3 percent) for 1,061 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. He also rushed for 354 yards and three touchdowns at 63 carries.
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Hurts, a former four-star recruit at Channelview, Texas High School, was ranked the No. 192 All-Interested Party and No. 4 Dual-Threat Quarterback in the country for the 2016 class, according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite. He was also the No. 29 player in the Lone Star State.
Hurts signed with Alabama and quickly became an impact player. He won the starting job in the second game, making him the first real freshman to start quarterback for the Crimson Tide in 32 years. He was named SEC Offensive Player of the Year, overtaking 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns, and charging for an additional 954 yards and 13 scores while leading the Crimson Tide to the national title game. In his sophomore year, he led Alabama back to the national title game, but was eventually replaced by Tua Tagovailoa in the second half and never got the job again.
After spending his junior season backing up Tagovailoa, Hurts moved to Oklahoma for his final season and the move paid off. He became a Heisman Trophy finalist after throwing 3,851 yards with 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions and storming 1,298 yards and 20 scores in 14 games.