Sunday, former Alabama quarterback and current Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts led his team to a 31-7 victory over the San Francisco 49ers to punch his ticket to his first-ever Super Bowl. His Super Bowl appearance puts him in elite company, making him just the fourth former Alabama player, and first in 47 years, to start at quarterback in the Super Bowl, joining Bart Starr, Joe Namath and Ken Stabler. While Hurts is at one of the peak moments in his career, the road has been full of highs and lows along the way.

Jalen Hurts had a rocky start to his freshman year at Alabama, but he kept his head up and turned it around fast. In Alabama's opening game against USC, Hurts started the game as the backup quarterback to Blake Barnett, but after a couple of bad offensive series, Nick Saban gave Hurts command of the offense. It didn't take long to see what kind of player and person Hurts was as he lost a fumble on his first play at quarterback. He didn't let the fumble get him down, keeping a cool demeanor and leading the Crimson Tide to a 52-6 victory, accounting for two touchdown passes as well as two rushing touchdowns. Hurts finished his freshman season with 2,780 passing yards, 954 rushing yards, and 36 total touchdowns while leading Alabama to a 14-1 record, losing to Clemson in the National Championship game by way of a Deshaun Watson game-winning touchdown drive.

As a sophomore, Hurts maintained his starting role at quarterback in 2017, despite a great amount of buzz coming from incoming freshman Tua Tagovailoa. Hurts once again led the Crimson Tide to the national championship, but with Alabama trailing 13-0 at halftime, Nick Saban benched Hurts for Tagovailoa. The freshman would lead Alabama to a comeback victory in an overtime thriller, making arguably the most famous pass in Alabama football history with his walk-off completion to DeVonta Smith.

Surprisingly, Nick Saban was able to keep both quarterbacks on the roster for the following season, and for Hurts' junior season, he spent most of his time as a backup to Tagovailoa. Despite losing his starting job, Hurts showed his true character by encouraging, tutoring and being Tua's number one cheerleader, all signs of what being a real teammate is about.

After graduating from the University of Alabama early, Hurts transferred to Oklahoma for his senior year so he could have a platform to display his talents for the NFL scouts. Hurts was very successful in Lincoln Riley's offense, finishing with 3,851 passing yards for 32 passing touchdowns and also 1,298 rushing yards for 20 rushing touchdowns.

Hurts thrived as the starter in Lincoln Riley's offense. He finished with 3,851 passing yards and 32 touchdowns and added 1,298 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. His offensive success helped lead Oklahoma to the college playoffs, where he would lose to Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow and the eventual national champion LSU Tigers. Jalen would finish second behind Burrow in the Heisman voting.

During the NFL Combine, Hurts was asked if he would consider changing positions from quarterback.

"I've always been a team-first guy, but I think I'm a quarterback," Hurts said at the NFL Combine. "I think that's that." 

Some experts had Hurts projected to be a late second-round pick after performing well at the Combine, but most considered him a much lower pick.

When Jalen Hurts' name was called by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 53rd overall pick in the 2020 draft, it was a big surprise not only because of how early he was selected but the team that selected him. Eagles' GM Howie Roseman caught a lot of heat for drafting Hurts just four years after they used the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to take Carson Wentz, still on their roster.

Fast forward to the current season, where Hurts has had an MVP-type season and was the odds-on favorite to win the award before missing a couple of games with a shoulder injury. Despite the shoulder injury and not quite playing at 100%, Hurts has led the Eagles to blowout victories in both playoff games, and with his 15th rushing touchdown of the season against San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game, he broke the quarterback rushing touchdown record previously held by Cam Newton.

After the win, in his post-game press conference, Hurts reflected on his journey to Philadelphia and how he was an underdog coming into the organization.

"They probably never wanted to draft me here," Hurts stated.

When asked to expound on what he meant, Hurts replied that his selection had been "a big surprise to many."

Hurts' adversity in college helped mold him into the man he is today, and he reflected on his favorite verse that helped him through it all.

"You know, I went through a lot of stuff in college — and it kind of stuck with me — John 13:7," Hurts said. "You may not know now, but later you'll understand. ... Hopefully, people understand."

Jalen Hurts continues to defy the odds, and out of all the great quarterbacks coached by Nick Saban, he will be the first one to start in the Super Bowl. Hurts will not only have Alabama fans and Oklahoma fans rooting for him, but Hurts has won the hearts of a lot of fans across the nation with his story of overcoming adversity. Regardless of the outcome of the Super Bowl, Jalen Hurts is just someone that everyone wants to see succeed in everything that he does.

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