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College Sports: Report: TCU pursuing Jalen Hurts after Alabama QB enters transfer portal

TCU football has reached out to Jalen Hurts after the Alabama quarterback entered his name into the NCAA transfer portal on Wednesday, per Jeremy Clark of 247Sports.com. 

Hurts has not officially announced a decision to transfer, but he is expected to take his talents elsewhere as a graduate transfer following the emergence of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who took over the starting role for the Crimson Tide this past season en route to being named a Heisman Trophy finalist.

TCU has been in the market for a graduate transfer since quarterback after Shawn Robinson — the Horned Frogs’ starter at the beginning of the 2018 season — transferred to Missouri in December. TCU was forced to play four quarterbacks throughout the 2018 season after both Robinson and back-up Michael Collins sustained season-ending injuries. Collins is one of three scholarship quarterbacks remaining on TCU’s roster, joined by redshirt freshman Justin Rogers and incoming freshman Max Duggan.

The Horned Frogs do have a past connection with Hurts, as he once attended a TCU football satellite camp in Houston as a recruit, according to Clark.

BetDSI Sportsbook has the odds of TCU landing Hurts at +500 — tied with UCLA and only trailing Maryland (+400), Arizona (+300) and Houston (+150). 

Hurts served as the starting quarterback for the Crimson Tide during both the 2016 and 2017 seasons before he was benched in favor of Tagovailoa, then a freshman, midway through the 2017 College Football Playoff national championship game. The Crimson Tide — propelled by Tagovailoa’s entry into the game — overcame a 20-7 third quarter deficit to defeat Georgia in overtime.

Hurts served as the backup to Tagovailoa in 2018, though he received playing time in 10 games during the regular season. In a twist of fate, Hurts was the one to lead Alabama to yet another come-from-behind victory over Georgia — this time in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 1 — after Tagovailoa exited that contest with an injury. 

In his two seasons as starter in 2016 and 2017, Hurts passed for over 2,000 yards on each occasion — including a career high 2,780 yards as freshman in 2016 — and a combined 40 touchdown passes. Hurts only lost two games — the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game vs. Clemson and Alabama’s 2017 regular season finale vs. Auburn — as the Crimson Tide’s starter.

BetDSI’s full odds

Houston Cougars +150
Arizona Wildcats +300
Maryland Terrapins +400
UCLA Bruins +500
TCU Horned Frogs +500
Florida State Seminoles +750
Florida Gators +1000
Louisville Cardinals +1000
Tennessee Volunteers +1000
UCF Knights +1500
Texas A&M Aggies +1500
Oklahoma Sooners +2000
Florida Atlantic Owls +2000
West Virginia Mountaineers +2000
Washington State Cougars +2500

And the odds of Shane Buechele to SMU? 

While Hurts is set to generate the most headlines of any quarterback on the brink of transferring, Texas quarterback Shane Buechele is also a name to watch with Sam Ehlinger locking down the starting job for the foreseeable future this past season. 

TCU is not the only DFW-area school in the market for a graduate transfer, as SMU is also looking for help after quarterback Ben Hicks announced in December that he’d be transferring out of the program. Football fans in University Park have been quick to put Buechele on their wish-list should the Longhorns’ back-up quarterback leave Austin, but it could be an uphill battle. 

Per BetDSI, SMU’s odds of landing Buechele for 2019 sit at +600, trailing five schools on the list. Among those ahead of the Mustangs are Houston, Ole Miss and Arkansas — the last of which has the leading odds at + 200. 

SMU is coming off a 5-7 finish in 2018, the team’s first full season under head coach Sonny Dykes. Dykes previously spent the 2017 season as an offensive analyst at TCU.

BetDSI’s full odds

Arkansas Razorbacks +200
Ole Miss Rebels +250
Mississippi State Bulldogs +350
Miami Hurricanes +500
Houston Cougars +500
SMU Mustangs +600
Kansas Jayhawks +800
Kansas State Wildcats +800

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