Jalen Hurts has achieved some pretty remarkable things since becoming the first true freshman to start at quarterback for coach Nick Saban last year. He passed for 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns, completed 62.8 percent of his passes, and rushed for 954 yards and 13 touchdowns, breaking the school single season record for rushing yards by a quarterback. His 36 overall touchdowns also broke Blake Sims’s previous record of 35 in a single season.
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He was the first player in Alabama history to pass for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in the same game, and the first quarterback to rush for 120 yards or more in multiple games. It’s amazing to consider that only one year removed from high school, he became the SEC Offensive Player of the Year in leading Alabama to a 12-0 record and a birth in the national championship game.
This year, the sophomore from Houston, Texas continued to dazzle and amaze in leading the Tide to a 12-1 record, thus far, after beating Clemson in the Sugar Bowl to advance to Monday night’s College Football Playoff National Championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs. Hurts passed for 2,060 yards and 17 TD’s while only tossing one interception all year. He also averaged 5.5 yards per carry in accumulating 808 yards and eight more scores on the ground.
Jalen Hurts Highlights – Alabama 2017 football season – weeks 1-11
Leading a team to back-to-back appearances in the national title game is quite an accomplishment for a starting quarterback, especially for a player so young. And Hurts has a chance to do something even more special. If Alabama beats Georgia, he’ll be the first African-American quarterback in school history to lead the Crimson Tide to a national championship.
Alabama does not have a deep history of featuring Black signal callers under center. In a region of the country with a sinister history of racism, and at a school where white supremacist Governor George Wallace once stood in a doorway to physically block black students from enrolling at the university, African-American quarterbacks for the Crimson Tide have been few and far between.
From 1981 – 1983, Walter Lewis was the first Black QB to start for Bama. He directed the offense during the final three seasons of the Bear Bryant era. Ahead of his time, he was a dangerous weapon with a skill set and mobility that wasn’t fully appreciated back in the early ’80s. If a time capsule could transport him into today’s game, he’d be seen as one of the top quarterbacks in the nation.
http://www.Linebacker-U.com – The #3 Crimson Tide storms into Happy Valley to face a Penn State squad foundering at 2-3. The Nittany Lions were the defending national champions, but not playing like it through the first 5 games of 1983. But Penn State forced a half-dozen Alabama turnovers to go up 31-7 on the Tide.
Lewis operated out of the run-heavy wishbone offense, which limited what he could do in the passing game. After Bear Bryant retired, new coach Ray Perkins installed a pro-style offense in 1983, allowing Lewis to show what he was truly capable of. He passed for 1,991 yards and averaged 7.8 yards per attempt, while also being a weapon in the running game. Lewis was a revelation, but it would be a few years before we saw another brother get an opportunity as Bama’s starting QB.
Former Tide QB Andrew Zow remembers shocking Florida in the Swamp 40-39 in overtime
Danny Woodson got some burn in 1981 and 1982. Next was Vince Sutton in 1984, followed by Andre Zow, who played from 1998 to 2002. Zow led the school to an SEC championship in 1999 and finished his career with 5,983 passing yards and 35 touchdowns. Then came Blake Sims, who set a single-season school record with 3,487 passing yards in 2014, when he tossed 28 TD passes and earned MVP honors in the 4213 victory over Missouri in the SEC championship game.
And now we have Hurts. That makes six Black starting QB’s since Alabama first began playing football in 1892.
Blake Sims vs. Texas A&M (2014)
Hurts has a chance to join a very short list of Black college quarterbacks that won national championships, joining the likes of Willie Thrower at Michigan State in 1952, Oklahoma’s Jamelle Holieway in 1985, Notre Dame’s Tony Rice in 1988, Florida State’s Charlie Ward in 1993, Nebraska’s Tommie Frazier in 1994 and 1995, Tennessee’s Tee Martin in 1998, Texas’ Vince Young in 2005, Florida’s Chris Leak in 2006, Auburn’s Cam Newton in 2010, Jameis Winston at Florida State in 2014 and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson last year.
He’ll also get to start his own list in Tuscaloosa, breaking through as the only brother to lead the Crimson Tide to the promised land.