OUR VIEW: Thank you, Jalen Hurts

CW Editorial Board

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CW/ Grant Nicholls

Jalen Hurts announced yesterday that he will be transferring to the University of Oklahoma to continue his football career. To many, this isn’t a surprise after freshman Tua Tagovailoa rolled onto the scene to become the University’s newest beloved quarterback.

But, we owe a thing or two to Hurts.

Hurts taught us what it means to persevere. He carried on at Alabama and accomplished his academic goals with poise, confidence and pride. And through it all, he loved this university with everything he had – his letter, published in The Players’ Tribune, which featured the official transfer announcement, was written with an obviously heavy heart, but the grace with which he acknowledges those who helped him over the past three years is something to be admired.

The admiration Hurts has for coach Nick Saban is also something to be revered. Saban made one of the toughest calls he’s had to make in the past few years: benching Hurts in favor of the younger, less experienced of his two quarterbacks.

Hurts made it no secret that he was disappointed when he was edged out of the starting position, but instead of becoming bitter or showing ill will to his early replacement, he accepted his new role with dignity and respect. To be able to gear up on game day, despite having people downplay his talents and pit him against Tagovailoa, showed his commitment to his team.

Despite the criticism and harassment which has no doubt dogged Hurts as one of the most visible athletes at the University, his loyalty to the school and to his teammates is nothing short of commendable. He gave the Tide love and loyalty that any program would be lucky to have.

And, Hurts could have left a year ago. He could have transferred to a starting position at almost any other school in the country, and many felt he should have.

Despite this, he proudly remained at Alabama. A standing ovation guided him across the graduation stage in Coleman Coliseum in December, and the look on his face said it all: His decisions are his, and his confidence is unwavering.

And, it’s important to remember how far he’s come.

All of the storybook endings during Hurts’ playing career at Alabama have erased what happened on his first play in a crimson uniform. He took the snap, turned to fake a handoff, and fumbled; an error that could easily spell doom for a quarterback trying to earn his place among the greatest dynasty college football has ever seen. After that, Hurts did what has come to define his career in Tuscaloosa. He persevered. He redeemed himself. He showed one of the most spoiled fan bases in America what it means to overcome adversity. Hurts has always managed to find a way in the face of tribulation. For that, it would be hard to ever thank him enough.

So thank you, Jalen. Thank you for teaching us many lessons in character, loyalty and respect – and for all the games you helped us win. Thank you for allowing us to follow your ups and downs here at the University and for giving us one final year to cheer you on in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Of course, we’re devastated by your departure, but it would be unfair to criticize your decision to better yourself as an athlete and as a student. As you said in your letter, you are built for this. You were destined to be great, and we are so lucky to have been a part of your journey.

Thank you, Jalen Hurts. Roll Tide.

Our View represents the consensus of The Crimson White editorial board. David Jones, Madison Naves and Anna Beth Peters also contributed to this column.