A prominent college quarterback will be on the move and the question becomes whether Florida State, UCF or Miami will be interested? Alabama QB Jalen Hurts is apparently available for an NCAA transfer and could play immediately for a new school in 2019.
Jalen Hurts has followed one coach on Twitter since news broke that he’s in the NCAA portal … Miami’s Manny Diaz. The Hurricanes are obviously very interested. https://t.co/UeeTuC5wQs pic.twitter.com/uWbRbFGax6
— Andrew Ivins (@Andrew_Ivins) January 10, 2019
Hurts, who was the full-time starter for Alabama in 2016 and in 2017 was replaced in the 2018 College Football Playoff Championship game by true freshman Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa led the Tide to an overtime win and the title. And, he was eventually named the starter for the 2018 regular season.
Hurts was disgruntled and contemplated transferring before the 2018 regular season began, but he also realized it would not help him for playing anywhere else for 2018. Instead he waited for his time, playing as a backup to Tua, as Alabama progressed to the SEC Championship Game.
That’s when Tagovailoa was injured, Hurts replaced him (above) and played brilliantly in the second-half comeback win over the Bulldogs. That included Hurts throwing for the tying touchdown and running in the winning score, as Bama rallied for the SEC Championship.
However with a month off, Tua was healthy for the Orange Bowl and was back as the starter, as Alabama ripped Oklahoma and advanced again to the CFP Championship Game for the fourth consecutive year.
As you’re probably aware from this week, Clemson destroyed Alabama and Tua’s Championship hopes in a 40 – 16 rout on Monday night in California. The Tiger’s defense blitzed and batter Tagovailoa into interceptions and mistakes along the way shutting out the Tide in the entire second half.
Hurts only saw the field again, in “mop up duty” after that SEC Championship game, but now wants to see it as a starter, with a new school. He has graduated from Alabama and would eligible immediately.
And that brings us to two programs that could be very interested in his services. The first one is Florida State, who as we wrote on Monday, has starter Deondre Francois returning for another season. This is despite the fact that Francois had graduated and could have transferred or even turn pro to go to the NFL.
A negative for FSU is coach Willie Taggart nor new offensive coordinator Kendal briles have no specific connection to Hurts, but obviously the lure of playing at FSU and trying to help them return to credibility could be big.
The other logical school in the state that might be interested in Hurts is UCF. While quarterback Darriel Mack filled in admirably for the injrued McKenzie Milton at quarterback at the end of the regular season, in the American Conference Championship game and during the Fiesta Bowl loss to LSU, Mack is clearly not a polished passer. And, Hurts is much more proven and would be in position to help the Knights more quickly and effectively next September.
And there are the Miami Hurricanes, who have a new coach in Manny Diaz, and have yet to hire their offensive coordinator. Still, even with part time starter N’Kosi Perry coming back this fall, the Canes would have to be interested in Hurts. And as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald pointed out here:
Transferring Alabama QB Jalen Hurts now also following Brevin Jordan on Twitter. So his last two follows: UM's TE and UM's coach. Wheeeee!
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) January 10, 2019
So, in South Florida they are hopefully that Hurts maybe comes to them.
Obviously, Hurts could also try to transfer to an SEC School, because they have now relaxed the transfer rules on players having to sit out a year, if you do so within that conference.
And there will be a market for the Alabama QB transfer to play somewhere in 2019. The only question for us, for now, is whether FSU or UCF can get themselves in the mix, if interested?
Ole Miss hires Lane Kiffin after FAU title game win
It didn’t take long after FAU’s rout of UAB in the Conference USA Championship Game for the “Lane Train” to depart Boca Raton for Mississippi.
Shortly after the post game festivities were done on the field at FAU Stadium, Ole Miss made official what had been reported Friday night that Kiffin is their new head coach:
OFFICIAL | @Lane_Kiffin named head football coach at Ole Miss
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) December 7, 2019
First, Kiffin’s Owls had little to no trouble with UAB, as they broke out to a 35 – 6 halftime lead and never looked back. Sophomore quarterback Chris Robison threw three touchdown passes and FAU also blocked a punt, scooped it up and ran it in for another touchdown, as they built the large halftime advantage.
UAB did not muster a hundred yards of offense until the fourth quarter of the game and by then, the issue was settled. It’s the Owls second Conference USA title win in three seasons under Kiffin.
“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Coach Kiffin to the Ole Miss family,” Carter said. “As we entered this process, we were looking for energy, innovativeness and a program builder who could excite our student-athletes and fans. Coach Kiffin checked every box and is a home run for our program. I look forward to locking arms with him to take Ole Miss Football to a championship level.”
Kiffin returns to the SEC, where he was formerly the offensive coordinator from 2014 – 16 at Alabama under Nick Saban. He also was the University of Tennessee head coach for the 2009 season going 7 – 6. Kiffin left the Vols controversially after just one year to coach at Southern Cal from 2010 – 13. He was fired in the middle of his fourth season with the Trojans.
As we wrote Friday night, a report in Mississippi surfaced that Ole Miss officials had been in Boca Raton to meet with Kiffin on Thursday night and offered him the job. That obviously turned out to be correct.
Ole Miss is looking to rebuild quickly and an attempt to challenge Alabama, LSU and Auburn. The Rebels went just 4 – 8 this past season firing former player and assistant, Matt Luke at the end of the year.
KIffin leads FAU in Championship Game- in final game?
There is only one game involving an FBS team in the State of Florida on Saturday and there’s as much drama behind the scenes as there will be on the field in Boca Raton. This for Florida Atlantic’s bid to win another Conference Championship Game.
The Owls and Coach Lane Kiffin get set to host UAB, are going for the Conference USA Championship for the second time in three years.
However, the bigger story is one that broke on Friday night that Kiffin, the former head coach at USC and Tennessee before coming to South Florida, is apparently headed back to the SEC to coach Ole Miss.
As we wrote last night, the deal is apparently all but done to bring Kiffin to Oxford, MS. That’s where he will coach in the SEC West, including against Nick Saban and Alabama. Kiffin recently the offensive coordinator at Bama from 2014 – 2016, including helping them win the College Football Playoff Title Game in January 2016.
Back to the game on the field Sunday afternoon. The Owls qualified to host the Title game last Saturday by beating Southern Miss 34 – 17. They are led by quarterback Chris Robinson and outstanding tight end, Harrison Bryant. Bryant had two touchdown catches in the first half of the game last week and is FAU’s best weapon in the air.
UAB is a great story in their own right, as they are the defending C-USA champions and qualified for the title game by upsetting North Texas last Saturday. The Blazers overcame their program being defunded by the state of Alabama’s Board of Regents in 2014. With football dormant for 2 years, coach Bill Clark resurrected it and they resumed playing with new players in 2017.
UAB , won the Conference USA title a year ago on the road at Middle Tennessee State and had the first-ever 10-win season in program history.
The Blazers look to run the football between the tackles with bruising back Spencer Brown. He’s a mid-round NFL prospect and had a hundred yards in their win over North Texas. Brown has 11- 100 yard games in his career and wants to help them grind the clock.
Again, this game does not have the impact of the SEC, Big 12 or Big 10 title games on Saturday, which are vying for the College Football Playoff. But, it still should be exciting and the post-game press conference with Kiffin about his possible new job in the SEC will be “must see,” as well.