20 things to know about Jalen Hurts, the Eagles’ new starting QB
Hurts grew up in Channelview, Texas and will be the youngest quarterback to start a game for the Eagles in more than 50 years.
Jalen Hurts starting Sunday will mark the first time the Eagles have changed starting quarterbacks because of ineffectiveness since Andy Reid turned to rookie Donovan McNabb in Week 10 more than 21 years ago. All of the other changes since -- whether it was Kevin Kolb for Michael Vick, Mark Sanchez for Sam Bradford, or Nick Foles for Carson Wentz -- have been because of injury.
The quarterback who was benched by Reid in favor of McNabb that day in 1999 was, of course, current coach Doug Pederson, who decided this week to turn to Hurts over the struggling Wentz. Here are 20 things to know about Hurts, the Eagles’ second-round pick in April.
1. Hurts grew up in Channelview, Texas, a suburb of Houston, and played high school ball for his father, Averion. His older brother, Averion Jr., also was a quarterback at Channelview and at Texas Southern.
2. Hurts’ mother Pamela is a guidance counselor in Houston who has a background in teaching special-ed students.
3. Jalen was a prodigious weight lifter, capable of squatting 500 pounds as a high school sophomore. At a Texas power-lifting event his junior year, Hurts benched 275 pounds, squatted 570, and dead-lifted 585 to come in second in the 198-pound class.
4. Hurts is 6-foot-1, 223 pounds. He ran a 4.59-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, the second-fastest among quarterbacks. Hawaii’s Cole McDonald, drafted by Tennessee in the seventh round, ran a 4.58.
5. Triviality: Hurts will be the eighth quarterback to start for the Eagles since the beginning of the 2010 season. Name the other seven. Answer below.
6. Was a big fan of Texas Longhorns legend Vince Young. Hurts was 7 when Young led UT to that thrilling win over Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl and 13 when Young ended his NFL career with the Eagles in 2011.
7. He didn’t love Young enough to go to college in the Lone Star State, going first to Alabama for three years before finishing at (gasp) Oklahoma, Texas’ biggest rival.
8. Hurts, 22 years, 128 days old by the time Sunday rolls around, will be the youngest quarterback to start a game for the Eagles in 56 years. The only one younger is Jack Concannon, who was 21 years, 285 days in 1964. Randall Cunningham was 22 years, 172 days in his first start in 1985. Other notables: Donovan McNabb in 1999 (22 years, 354 days), Sonny Jurgensen in 1957 (23 years, 58 days), Carson Wentz in 2016 (23 years, 256 days), and Nick Foles in 2012 (23 years, 303 days).
9. The oldest quarterback ever to make his first career start while with the Eagles is Doug Pederson, who was 31 years, 224 days when Andy Reid had him start the 1999 opener. Jalen Hurts was 13 months old.
10. Hurts arrived at Alabama on Jan. 2, 2016, and in his very first practice, Hurts was asked to play Deshaun Watson on the scout team ahead of the Tide’s championship game against Clemson. The Tide won 45-40 despite Watson throwing for 405 yards and four touchdowns.
11. Alabama faced Watson the following year -- this time with Hurts as the Tide’s freshman quarterback -- and lost on a last-second touchdown pass from Watson to Hunter Renfrow.
12. Hurts brought the Tide back to the CFP championship game the following season, but struggled and was benched at halftime in favor of freshman Tua Tagovailoa. Tua rallied ‘Bama from a 13-0 deficit and Hurts never started another game for the Tide, but he did have one final poignant moment of glory.
13. The Tide rolled into the SEC Championship again in 2018, but this time Hurts had to come in for an injured Tagovailoa. Hurts scored the winning touchdown with 64 seconds left in what was his final significant action for Alabama. He left for Oklahoma with a conference championship ring on one hand and a bachelor’s degree in communication and information sciences in the other.
14. As a graduate transfer at OU, Hurts led the Sooners to the College Football Playoff where they lost to LSU in the semifinals. Hurts finished second in the Heisman voting to LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.
15. NFL records of starting quarterbacks who played at LSU or Alabama under Nick Saban (might want to hide your eyes): JaMarcus Russell 7-18, Tua Tagovailoa 4-1, A.J. McCarron 2-2, Greg McElroy 0-1, Matt Mauck 0-1, Brodie Croyle 0-10.
16. Answer man: The seven quarterbacks since 2010 who’ve started for the Eagles are Michael Vick, Kevin Kolb, Vince Young, Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, Sam Bradford, and Carson Wentz.
17. Was first-team all-SEC in 2016, first-team all-Big 12 in 2019, and was 38-4 as a college starter.
18. Hurts’ top receivers in college were Calvin Ridley and O.J. Howard (and fledgling stars Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs) at Alabama, and CeeDee Lamb at Oklahoma.
19. Hurts took an interest last year in Rayden Overbay, a 12-year-old autistic boy from Oklahoma who was the subject of a viral video of him being beaten and bullied by classmates. The boy’s father remarked at the genuine concern Hurts had for his son.
20. “He’s super quiet,” Danny Overbay told the Norman Transcript. “It’s hard to hear what he’s saying, but you can always tell he means what he says. ... The one thing I could say, is he doesn’t feed people full of crap. He walks the walk and he talks the talk.”