TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — While a lot of people who watch college football have been debating what they think junior quarterback Jalen Hurts should do in terms of staying at the University of Alabama, he’s done something that will surprise a lot of fans.
He got better.
“Jalen has certainly improved in the pocket,” Nick Saban said. “There's no doubt about that. There's never been any question about his arm talent. It's always been making decisions, choices, second reads, that type of things, which I think he's really made a lot of improvement on.
“When he's done those things, he's had really good success. And I think consistency in continuing to do those things is the key to him in the future.”
Overall, Hurts has completed 19 of 28 passes for 248 yards and four touchdowns. The only negative is that he’s had more turnovers, with an interception and a lost fumble in three games. He had just one pick last season.
His completion percentage is 67.9 percent, up from 60.4 a year ago.
His yards per attempt is 8.9, up from 8.2.
As noted in this week’s Upon Further Review, Hurts’ passer rating is 182.3, a significant upgrade from last year’s 150.2.
His teammates have noticed as well.
“I don't think confidence has ever been an issue for Jalen,” senior running back Damien Harris said. “We've always had confidence in him. I know he's always had confidence in himself. I think he's just improved as a player. That's what we all try to do from one year to the next. Try to improve our game and become better players for the team, and I think that's what's happened with him.”
Although Tua Tagovailoa’s passer rating of 237.2 leads the Southeastern Conference and is second in the NCAA, Saban has played both quarterbacks in all three games thus far.
With the new redshirt rule allowing a player to participate in up to four games and not have it count as playing in a season, Hurts could still redshirt, graduate in December and transfer with two years of eligibility remaining.
However, with each game he plays it becomes less likely to happen and Alabama is off to a blazing 3-0 start.
Hurts tweeted a message on Sunday afternoon about all the chatter.
“Those two push each other to go harder,” junior cornerback Trevon Diggs said. “He’s grown a lot. I see a lot of improvement from him.”