When it comes to freshman college football players, there’s no one better than Alabama QB Jalen Hurts. At least that’s what the experts at CBS Sports claimed when they awarded Hurts with their “freshman of the year” honor on Wednesday.
Hurts was joined in national recognition by Louisville QB Lamar Jackson (player of the year) and Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre (coach of the year).
It has been quite a journey for Hurts, who did not open the season as the starting quarterbck for the Crimson Tide. He finished the regular season with 2,592 yards passing and 22 touchdowns compared to just nine interceptions.
But the true freshman’s biggest impact may have been his legs, which led him to set Alabama quarterback rushing records with a 841-yard, 12 touchdown season on the ground.
Here’s a look at what was written by CBS Sports upon issuing the award to Hurts:
The first true freshman to start at quarterback for Alabama since 1984, Hurts’ 2016 season has been a slow burn into superstardom. He started the season as a change-of-pace option against USC in the opener and never looked back, going on to set single-season school records for rushing yards by a quarterback and knock on the door of breaking single-season records for both touchdown responsibility and total offense. He’s got the top completion percentage in the SEC (65.3), but his versatility has been the key to opening up the offense and helping power the Tide to the top overall seed in the College Football Playoff.
Oh, and as for the “bigger” awards? You can bet that Hurts wont’ sneak up on anyone going into 2017. Regardless of what happens with Alabama in the playoff, expect the soon-to-be-sophomore quarterback to start all 2017 Heisman Trophy discussions.