Gary Danielson has watched a lot of football.
That was evident on Wednesday when the CBS Sports commentator appeared on the Paul Finebaum Show. Danielson recalled a 1998 Michigan-Syracuse game when asked about Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, making a comparison between the Crimson Tide’s true freshman and former NFL great Donovan McNabb.
“Jalen Hurts reminds me of a strong Donovan McNabb,” Danielson said. “In 1998, Tom Brady was the matchup quarterback and Donovan McNabb went in there and beat Tom Brady in that game. And I will never forget the athleticism of Donovan McNabb. Donovan, at that time when you interviewed him, he was straight. He was a leader. He was almost like a military guy the way he walked into the room and handled a room. When I watch Jalen Hurts handle his position and those questions I always think, ‘Man does this guy have it together for a true freshman.”
McNabb was the No. 2 pick of the 1998 NFL draft out of Syracuse and went on to have a successful NFL career while being named NFC Player of the Year in 2014 and earning trips to six Pro Bowls.
Hurts has been impressive in his first two collegiate contests, completing 61.7 percent of his passes for 405 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He’s also added two rushing touchdowns while leading the Crimson Tide past Southern Cal and Western Kentucky.
But bigger challenges await the young quarterback, and Danielson is eager to see how he handles himself in the thick of SEC play.
“He hasn’t played on the road in the SEC,” Danielson said. “Let’s not hand him the keys to the playoffs yet. The five toughest opponents that Alabama on paper will face is all away from Bryant-Denny.”