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OU football: Jalen Hurts brings wisdom, unique personality as Sooners' starting quarterback

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Jalen Hurts

Senior quarterback Jalen Hurts speaks with reporters Aug. 21.

Jalen Hurts is a coffee bean. 

He's not a carrot or an egg — no, he's a coffee bean. He's also Oklahoma's new starting quarterback as of Monday, bringing not only unquestionable skill to the position but also some wisdom. 

"You gotta try and be the coffee bean," Hurts said Wednesday. "You got the carrot, the egg — you put the egg in boiling water it hardens up... The carrot softens up. The coffee bean spreads, gets stronger — it impacts the people around you. Try and be that coffee bean."

Hurts spoke to the media for the first time since coach Lincoln Riley named him the Sooners 2019 starter Monday. Arriving in Norman in January after transferring from Alabama, he beat out redshirt freshman Tanner Mordecai and true freshman Spencer Rattler for the job. During his time with the Crimson Tide, Hurts was 26-2 as a starter and totaled for 7,602 yards and 71 total touchdowns. 

He's made an immediate impact not only on the field, but also in the locker room as a leader. Wednesday, Hurts showed how — through his experience and wisdom. 

"You gotta understand that everybody can't lead a tribe," Hurts said. "It takes a special person to do that and I think people lead because their peers let them lead. They've accepted me and that's a huge honor, and I want to be the best quarterback and the best leader I can be for this team."

"Hopefully we can make it a special year." 

Hurts no doubt has a lot to prove, after being benched for Tua Tagovailoa in the 2018 national title game and playing the backup role last season. Despite some doubting his ability as a quarterback, he says he can't wait to show just how much he's improved. 

"The reality is that I'm not the same quarterback I was as a freshman at Alabama, a sophomore at Alabama, a junior at Alabama," Hurts said. "Now that I'm here at Oklahoma, we're ready to attack."

Riley said Tuesday Hurts' past played zero factor in his decision to pick him as the starter. He saw Hurts improve as a player in his short time at Oklahoma, which is why he'll be the starter come Sept. 1 against Houston. 

"It had nothing to do with experience," Riley said. "(I) just based it purely on performance. I'm not going to sit here and break it down. He was just a little bit ahead." 

Following Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray will be no easy task, Hurts knows that. But he's also not worried about that. 

He's focused on today and this season. He wants to be Oklahoma's "coffee bean." 

"I'm happy to be that for this team and we're just ready to attack the season," Hurts said. "It's been a ride. I've said it before in the past, this whole story is far from over with."

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George Stoia joined The Daily in the fall of 2016 as a sophomore and has covered the soccer team, both men's and women's basketball, as well as the football team for the past three years. He graduates in May 2020.

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