In early December, at a College Football Playoff press conference, Riley heaped praise on Hurts when asked not about him individually but about Alabama as a team.
Riley said he thought at that time Hurts might transfer, but the possibility he wound wind up as a Sooner hadn’t entered his mind at all.
Instead, it was a postseason evaluation of Oklahoma’s quarterback group that led the Sooners to pursue Hurts.
“I started thinking about adding someone older in that room, thinking we might need an older presence in there,” Riley said.
Riley said he pursued quarterbacks both through the NCAA transfer portal and through the junior college ranks. He quickly settled on Hurts as a target.
Riley said he called the quarterbacks that were on the roster, including now-departed Austin Kendall, and their families to inform them of his intent to pursue an addition.
“I was very open and up front with them like I always am with them,” Riley said. “In Austin Kendall’s case, I probably jumped the gun a little bit in letting him know if I knew there was real interest from any of these transfers out there.
“I felt, especially a guy in his position, I wanted him to be able to know.”