Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley could not help but admire Jalen Hurts from a distance.
He respected how the Alabama quarterback who lost his starting job to Tua Tagovailoa put the team above his pride. Hurts could have transferred right after Alabama went another direction, as so many quarterbacks do these days. Instead, he stuck it out and delivered a moment for the ages. After Tagovailoa went down with an injured ankle during the SEC title game against Georgia, Hurts rallied the Crimson Tide to victory.
"Could not be more impressed with Jalen Hurts, how he handled that," Riley said as Oklahoma prepared to face Alabama in the playoff last month. "Big fan of that kid and how that entire situation was managed."