On one hand, it made no sense that Maryland football was even in the conversation for Jalen Hurts, the Alabama quarterback who became the most coveted grad transfer in recent memory. On the other, Hurts’ close relationship with Mike Locksley gave the Terps a unique advantage. So while missing out on the 2016 SEC Offensive Player of the year stings, it’s hard to get too disappointed.
Had Hurts announced his intention to transfer to Maryland in a Players’ Tribune post Wednesday, it would have been easy to see the logic. He’d be following a familiar coach to a familiar offensive system. He’d waltz right into the starting spot and helm an offense filled with talented playmakers. He’d have the chance to potentially lead a program to its best season in nearly a decade.
But instead, Hurts is heading to Oklahoma. The Sooners don’t have someone like Locksley for him to lean on, but they have everything else. It’s clear they plan to hand him the starting job, and, well, Oklahoma starting quarterbacks have won the last two Heisman Trophies. Lincoln Riley has successfully geared his offense to Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, and there’s no reason to think he can’t make the necessary tweaks to help Hurts succeed. The Sooners have won four straight Big 12 titles and made the last two College Football Playoffs. And of the schools Hurts visited (Maryland, Oklahoma and Miami), it’s by far the closest to his home just outside Houston.
This decision isn’t an indictment of Maryland’s program, or of Locksley’s ability to win high-profile sweepstakes. If anything, it just reinforces the notion that the program won’t transform itself overnight. There’s still a lot of image rehabilitation to do this year. That wouldn’t have changed even with Hurts.
Maryland fans never seemed sure how to feel about this. They all knew the Terps had a dark history in these recruiting and transfer battles (see: Haskins, Dwayne), but there’s always that shred of hope that this time is different. Losing Hurts certainly isn’t a disaster; Tyrrell Pigrome looks primed to start Week 1, and he’s shown enough flashes to make fans optimistic. An offense with him, Anthony McFarland, Jeshaun Jones and Co. has the chance to be special.
But that same group with Hurts? Man, that would’ve been fun.
In other football news
Pretty busy day, huh?
Maryland has its offensive coordinator, as former East Carolina head coach Scottie Montgomery is coming to College Park.
Locksley has also added John Reagan as offensive line coach and Mike Miller (no, not the Maryland Senate president, nor the former NBA player) as tight ends coach. The latter replaces Butch Jones, who was planning on coming to Maryland but will move up on a suddenly depleted Alabama staff.
The Terps have also reportedly extended an offer to current Tennessee assistant Charles Kelly to become their new defensive coordinator.
So that’s six hires, with at least one more public offer. We’re still rounding it all up in the tracker.
In other news
Maryland women’s basketball hits the road to play No. 17 Michigan State tonight.
From ESPNW, the freshman duo of Shakira Austin and Taylor Mikesell has done its part in helping Kaila Charles this season.
Let’s fawn over the new Maryland men’s lacrosse uniforms.
Former Terp Joe Cummings is the new head coach of the Charlotte Hounds, for whom he played during his Major League Lacrosse career.
Gary Williams discussed his list of the Big Ten’s top “gamers” on BTN, and Anthony Cowan Jr. is your No. 1.
And the New Thing on Twitter is posting pictures of yourself 10 years ago and now. Good luck topping Maryland soccer’s entry.