ATHENS — While Georgia football doesn’t benefit immediately from Jalen Hurts’ decision to transfer from Alabama to Oklahoma, it only serves to help the Bulldogs in the long run.
Hurts, as a graduate transfer, was eligible to play immediately anywhere he chose to go.
Here are three ways Georgia benefits from is decision to play for the Sooners:
1. Hurts won’t be starting for a UGA scheduled opponent
There’s no question Hurts was a much-coveted player during this offseason, offering leadership and championship game experience.
Adding a player and a leader like Hurts might have been enough to get some programs over the hump.
Tennessee, most notably, would have been a prime landing spot for Hurts. Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt was said to have a good relationship with Hurts in Tuscaloosa.
Tennessee isn’t on the Bulldogs’ level quite yet from a talent standpoint, but AD Phillip Fulmer has beefed up the Vols’ coaching staff and Hurts would have provided another immediate lift.
2. Alabama football weakens in 2019 with Hurts transfer
There was a chance Hurts was going to decide to stay in Tuscaloosa and complete his legacy as a Tide legend. UGA fans can breathe a sigh of relief he chose another route.
There’s no guarantee Alabama will reach the SEC Championship Game to face Georgia again, but it would be hard to bet against that happening.
As big of an issue as it was for Georgia OLB D’Andre Walker to leave the SEC title game with the Bulldogs up 28-21, it still took a special performance from Hurts to exploit the loss of UGA’s sacks leader.
Alabama, like Georgia, is stockpiled with talent. But it’s hard to imagine the Tide — or any other program this season — having a 1-2 punch like Hurts and Tagovailoa have proven to be the past two years.
Indeed, Alabama’s QB depth was the only thing that stood between the Bulldogs and the 2017 College Football Playoff Championship as well as the 2018 SEC championship and a spot in the CFB Playoffs.
3. Georgia out of QB transfer spotlight for now
The Justin Fields’ transfer story probably isn’t finished playing out in the national media yet — there’s still a controversial appeal for immediate eligibility to be filed (and likely won).
But Hurts’ transfer talk will boost Oklahoma into the national transfer spotlight as it deals with the fallout of adding another player to its roster, one action triggering another.
New College Football transfer destinations:
-Brandon Wimbush: UCF
-Tate Martell: Miami
-Jalen Hurts: Oklahoma
-Urban Meyer: Retirement*
-SEC fans: Clemson
-Florida State fans: 2013
-Alabama fans: 1st grade math
* = “Retirement” is short for “USC, when the job comes open”
— NOTSportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) January 16, 2019
Already, we’ve seen controversy at Ohio State where incumbent Tate Martell has announced his intention to transfer, and now Martell’s grounds for immediate eligibility will be scrutinized and measured against those in other programs.
Georgia’s quarterback situation is suddenly quiet — still competitive, but in a more comfortable manner.
Jake Fromm is the clear No. 1, and incoming No. 2 Dwan Mathis is eager to learn from Fromm to become the most prepared back-up quarterback he can be heading into the 2019 season.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart also has the luxury of having depth at the position in 2019. The Bulldogs added former UGA walk-on and junior college transfer Stetson Bennett for peace of mind.
Part of the issue with the Fromm-Fields situation last season was the Bulldogs had no other scholarship quarterbacks.
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