Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts came up a little bit short of history Monday night.
With the Crimson Tide’s 35-31 loss to Clemson, Hurts was unable to become just the second true freshman quarterback in college football history to lead his team to a national championship as a starter.
In 1985, Oklahoma’s Jamelle Holieway became the first and still only player to do it when the Sooners went 11-1 and beat No. 1 Penn State, 25-10, in the Orange Bowl.
Hurts, who turned 18 on Aug. 7 just before the start of the season, also likely would have become the youngest quarterback to ever win a national title. Holieway also was 18 at the time of Oklahoma’s 1985 national title win but was born in June.
Hurts started 14 of 15 games for Alabama this season with the exception of the opener against USC. However, he took most of the reps at quarterback for the Crimson Tide in that game and accounted for four total touchdowns.
Overall, Alabama went 14-1 with Hurts. The Crimson Tide had the chance to become the first team in FBS history to have a 15-0 record in a single season.
Statistically, Hurts threw for 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns to nine interceptions this season. He also rushed for 954 yards and 13 scores on 191 attempts.
Against Clemson, Hurts completed 13 of 31 passes for 131 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing for 63 yards.
In the game, he also broke Alabama’s single-season touchdown responsibility record.
Hurts beat out redshirt freshman Blake Barnett, redshirt junior Cooper Bateman and redshirt sophomore David Cornwell for the starting job. He was the first true freshman starting quarterback at Alabama since 1984.
Prior to this season, a true freshman quarterback had never taken a snap for the Crimson Tide under Nick Saban, who was hired as coach in 2007.
Hurts, a Channelview, Texas native, was a four-star prospect and the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the 2016 recruiting class.
Hurts was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year in December.
(You can follow Kevin Connell on Twitter @_KevinConnell)
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