With the announcement Monday that running back Jalen Hurd will transfer from Tennessee, the question now turns to: where might he end up?
If you follow recruiting, you know that Hurd was a big-time recruit from the state of Tennessee. Herd was a 5-star player and a huge get for head coach Butch Jones. But, the relationship clearly wore out between Hurd and Jones. Here is a caption of what Hurd’s uncle had to say regarding his nephew’s decision.
Reports that running back Jalen Hurd has quit Tennessee team. Here’s a purported post from his uncle explaining why: pic.twitter.com/i7llKHNDAN
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 31, 2016
After a solid sophomore season at Tennessee in 2015, with 1,288 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, Hurd leads the Vols in rushing this year with 451 yards, despite missing one game.
So, Hurd, who is 6’4”, 240 pounds, wants to make a move to wide receiver or tight end. An interesting idea that makes the Oklahoma Sooners a favorite to land the former 5-star recruit. Unlike many teams in college football, Oklahoma uses a tight end and he has typically received plenty of looks. This year, Mark Andrews has 21 catches for 340 yards with 5 touchdowns. Andrews was a tight end in high school who is now listed as a wide receiver. His size (6’5”, 250) is very similar to Hurd. Of course, under Lincoln Riley, the OU offensive coordinator finds a way to get the ball into the hands of his playmakers. Whether it’s at tight end, wide receiver, running back, or some hybrid position, Hurd would become a star with the Sooners.
It’s unclear at this point if Hurd can be a graduate transfer and play immediately in 2017. But, whether it’s 2017 or 2018, there’s plenty of positives for Hurd. If he can play next year, he’ll get to have Baker Mayfield throwing him the ball, and there will be an open spot in the backfield with Samaje Perine likely headed to the NFL to save his body and get paid. If he has to wait until 2018, there will be plenty of turnover on the roster, with Perine, Mixon, and Mayfield all out the door. This would give Hurd a chance to become a star and leader of a national brand and help launch his future NFL career.
One of Oklahoma’s biggest competitor appears to be USC. His father is a trainer in Los Angeles and USC now has a pro-style system under Clay Helton. But, who knows if Clay Helton is the coach at USC next year or in 2018. The program has been a mess for almost a decade. Sure, they still produce NFL players, but they are far from the powerhouse they used to be. Stoops and the Sooners offer the stability that USC and others do not.
So, if I’m Bob Stoops, I’m getting on the phone ASAP to try and figure out how to get Jalen Hurd into an OU uniform. I realize recent big-time transfers haven’t really worked out for the Sooners, most recently Dorial Green-Beckham (Missouri), and to a lesser extent Geno Lewis (Penn State). But, Hurd is absolutely worth a shot. There are no off-field issues we know of. He’s just an uber-talented player looking to change positions and launch his NFL career. There’s no better fit than Norman, but can OU pull it off? It’s a storyline to watch moving forward.
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