Maryland football fans got excited when some of them saw quarterback Jalen Hurts show up with new Terps coach Michael Locksley at last Friday’s men’s basketball game against then-No. 22 Indiana at Xfinity Center.
They got absolutely excited when several betting houses in Las Vegas listed Maryland as the favorite to become the landing spot for Hurts to play as a graduate transfer in 2019.
Reality arrived Wednesday.
Hurts announced in a story for The Players’ Tribune that he would finish his college career at Oklahoma, just as the past two Heisman Trophy winners — Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray — did after transferring to the Sooners.
"Now I'm Bama for LIFE — and that right there will never change! But now it's also time for me to start a new chapter in my story," Hurts wrote.
"I've decided to take my talents to the University of Oklahoma, where I will continue my development as both a quarterback and as a student.
"I'm very fortunate to have this opportunity, and I'm excited for the journey ahead."
Hurts visited Oklahoma, Maryland and Miami during the recruiting process. Hurts’ announcement Wednesday came less than 24 hours after former Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell announced he was transferring to Miami, where former Alabama quarterbacks coach Dan Enos was recently hired by new coach Manny Diaz as the team’s offensive coordinator.
Locksley, who joined Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama as a quality control assistant in 2016, was the team’s co-offensive coordinator at Alabama in 2017 and served as its offensive coordinator in 2018.
After leading the Crimson Tide to the national championship over Clemson in 2016 and to the national championship game against Georgia in 2017, Hurts was replaced by Tua Tagovailoa in the second half against the Bulldogs. Tagovailoa led Alabama to victory in overtime.
Tagovailoa won the No. 1 job in 2018, but, after suffering an ankle injury, was replaced by Hurts in the Southeastern Conference title game against the Bulldogs. This time it was Hurts who led the Crimson Tide to a come-from-behind victory.
After having surgery, Tagovailoa returned for the College Football Playoff and led Alabama to a semifinal victory over Oklahoma before the Crimson Tide lost to Clemson in the title game. Hurts played mop-up duty in a 44-16 defeat.
Hurts put his name into the NCAA transfer portal last week, and speculation began immediately on which school would wind up getting him. Maryland was considered to have an inside track because of his relationship with Locksley.
But Oklahoma’s stature as one of college football’s elite programs proved too big an obstacle for the Terps and Hurricanes, among others, to overcome.
Maryland currently has four scholarship quarterbacks on its roster.
Redshirt sophomore Tyrelle Pigrome started the team’s last two games of the 2018 season and nearly led the Terps to a shocking upset of then-No. 10 Ohio State at Maryland Stadium before losing in overtime, 52-51.
Redshirt freshman Kasim Hill, who started two games as a freshman in 2017 before suffering a torn ACL, suffered the same injury in Maryland’s 10th game last season at Indiana and is expected to be sidelined for up to nine months.
Junior Max Bortenschlager, who took over when both Pigrome and Hill were injured in 2017 and started eight games, missed most of the 2018 season after undergoing ankle surgery. Freshman Tyler DeSue took limited snaps last season.