It has been eight months since the College Football world became aware of Jalen’s transfer to Oklahoma. Along the way, he had to enroll in classes, learn a brand new offensive scheme and earn the right to become the starting quarterback for the Sooners.
When he announced he was leaving Alabama to join Oklahoma, many thought his starting role was a given. After all, he showed what he is capable of at Alabama, and has experience in a National Championship Game. However, competing against incoming Freshman Spencer Rattler, a 5-star recruit from Pinnacle High School out of Arizona, and Tanner Mordecai, a one-year veteran of Riley’s Air Raid Offense, Jalen’s challenge was no small task to overcome.
Mordecai came to Norman with a lot of promise in 2018 as a 4-star prospect, and his improvements under Riley have been noticed by those in spring and fall camps. A big plus for Mordecai is that he arguably has the best knowledge of Lincoln Riley’s offense after sitting behind Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray.
And then there is the Sooner’s latest top quarterback prospect. Spencer Rattler is proclaimed to be the next superstar at Oklahoma and the future of the program. The top-ranked dual-threat quarterback might have the highest upside of the three.
Both Rattler and Mordecai put pressure on Jalen, probably more so than most expected, for the starting role this summer while Coach Riley kept the competition open for the job.
Of course, Riley wants his players to be pushed in order to bring out the best in them, and nothing does that like competition. Riley has done this before in the past with Mayfield and Murray, before announcing the starters two weeks before opening day.
With Hurts the official starter though, eyes turn to the two he beat out of the job. The Sooners currently enjoy a plethora of talent under center, and with Hurts the current face of the program, and Rattler the future, where does that leave Mordecai?
Questions will be asked if Mordecai will enter the transfer portal like Austin Kendall did after it was clear playing time was going to be scarce in Norman. Will Mordecai stay at Oklahoma with three years of eligibility remaining after this season?
Especially as Rattler may be coming on faster than expected?
“[Rattler’s] gaining on — not necessarily gaining on Jalen [Hurts] or gaining on Tanner [Mordecai] — but just gaining on getting to the point where he can execute and communicate everything that we want him to,” Riley said. “He’s a quick study. And one thing I have appreciated about the kid, even though I wasn’t here for spring, he’s not afraid of the moment.”– Lincoln Riley told the Norman Transcript
Although Rattler and Mordecai both pressured Hurts this spring and summer and the have the makings to lead Oklahoma’s offense, it’s hard to overlook Jalen Hurt’s talent, experience, and resume. The race for 2nd-string is now the topic for debate for if Tanner does not get that spot and Spencer does, will it be time for him to move on?