Heat Check: Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts

Photo: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball is a game of rhythm. Of course there are levels of repetition and muscle memory that go into making big shots. But I feel as though basketball, more so than other sports, can really tap into momentum.

When you're on, you're ON in basketball. It all starts with one shot. Just hit that one shot and you can get something going. After that, the second one could come off your hand the exact same way -- heat check. By the time you go up for that third, you already have it in your mind exactly how the first two went in and you shoot the third one the same way -- on fire.

Now they're in for it.

After back-to-back nearly flawless performances for Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, this man is heating up.

Hurts, the former Alabama quarterback, came to Oklahoma after Tua Tagovailoa basically put him out of a job following the Tide's 2018 National Championship. Before Alabama, he was a 4-star quarterback out of Texas, and the No. 4 dual threat quarterback in the entire 2016 recruiting class.

As a true freshman for Alabama in 2016, Hurts threw for 2,700 yards with 23 touchdowns through the air and also added nearly 1,000 more yards on the ground with another 13 rushing touchdowns. Teams weren't used to Alabama having such a weapon on offense, and because of that Alabama made yet another title run. The following season Hurts threw for less yards, less touchdowns, ran for less yards with less rushing touchdowns, and was eventually replaced by Tagovailoa in the second half of the National Championship game.

Hurts never re-gained his starting spot over Tagovailoa, and that's why today we see him in a different shade of red with the Sooners.

Fresh off coaching back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners and back-to-back No. 1 overall pick quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, Hurts pairing up with Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley seemed like a recipe to take Hurts to the next level, and possibly take the college football world by storm -- again.

Two games in and it's officially time for Hurts call his heat check.

Hurts has been known as a running quarterback. He was one of the most dynamic weapons in college football during his time at Alabama, and that gave defenses fits.

So far at Oklahoma, Hurt is *checks notes* yep, still good at that whole running the ball thing. Hurts ran for 176 yards in the Sooners opening game against Houston, and he added 47 more yards the following week.

Most people look at running quarterbacks and just think that it's a crutch; there's no way it can translate to the NFL. But for Hurts, at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, I think it can translate. Most offenses in the NFL are incorporating some sort of option threat into their quarterback play, and Hurts brings that element as well as the size to be durable enough for it to be a legit weapon.

But people already know Hurts can run. It's what he can do with his arm that will tell the tale of how high he'll go in the 2020 NFL Draft, and ultimately what he becomes as an NFL players.

So far in 2019, through two games, Hurts has an astounding competition percentage of 82.9 with a quarterback rating of 252.3. Hurts also has six touchdown passes to zero interceptions.

Beyond the stats, Hurts looks more comfortable standing in the pocket. He's always going to be a player who likes to get out of structure, but even for quarterbacks where that can be an added skill, they still have to operate in the pocket when the situations are right.

Hurts seems to be less panic-y and more comfortable standing tall between the tackles in 2019.

Then, of course, the magic happens when you put both of those aspect of Hurts' game together.

The play above was Russell Wilson-esque. It's the best of both world with passing and mobility. That throw is something every NFL head coach is looking for.

Two games down. Hurts is in heat check.

This week he plays UCLA. Another stellar performance against the Bruins and Hurts won't be at heat check, he'll be on fire.

Written By:

Trevor Sikkema

Senior NFL Draft Analyst

Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-Host of the Locked On NFL Draft Podcast.