Texas Tech Football Recruiting Analysis: QB Jalen Hurts


Texas Tech Football has focused its attention on Jalen Hurts from Channelview, TX, following its need to sign a quarterback for the 2016 recruiting class after Tristen Wallace decommitted.

Using Hurts’ junior season highlight video, let’s look at the his strengths and weaknesses as a quarterback. But first, let’s compare his stats to another once-highly rated quarterback.

During the 2014 season, Hurts threw for 21 touchdowns and ran for 19 more. He amassed 2,552-yards through the air and 948-yards on the ground. Hurts stats compare well with one-time Texas Tech recruit Jarrett Stidham’s junior year (2,687 passing yards for 30 TDs, and 965 rushing yards for 16 TDs). Hurts had a better completion percentage (66.0) than Stidham did as a junior (60.) Also, keep in mind that Hurts’ numbers were put up against 6A competition where as Stidham’s came against 4A teams.

Now, refer to the video below as we conduct an analysis of Hurts:



The first two plays on the video display Hurts’ accuracy with the deep ball. The second play is impressive because the puts the ball out in front of the receiver who is well covered. The play that begins at the 35-second mark is worth noting because Hurts stands in the pocket and patiently waits for a receiver to come open. The pocket is tight but he stays with the play, rather than pulling a Baker Mayfield and trying to run at the first sign of pressure. He remained poised and found a receiver streaking open on a slant route resulting in a touchdown.

The next play, at the :46-second mark is an amazing throw. Hurts completes a perfect fade pass for a score despite throwing off of one leg while dropping back. The fade to the corner of the end zone is a staple of the Tech red zone offense, and on this play Hurts proves he can make that type of throw.

At the 1:18 mark, Hurts makes an impressive throw while on the run. He avoids pressure and keeps his eyes downfield to find an open receiver. Accuracy while on the move is a huge bonus in the college game because there will be a handful of plays each week that break down. If the quarterback is able to improvise and throw accurately on the run, these plays can turn into positives for the offense (Remember Mahomes vs. Baylor?). Many former Tech quarterbacks have been statues unable to make something happen if the pass rush causes the pocket to collapse.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury is focusing his efforts on finding athletic quarterbacks who can make plays when things blows up.


It is obvious that Kingsbury covets mobile quarterbacks. He has recruited dual threat quarterbacks since his arrival. But while Pat Mahomes is athletic and mobile in the pocket, he is not necessarily fast. On film, Hurts displays speed not seen in a Tech quarterback during the Air Raid era.

The play beginning at the 1:37 mark shows Hurts’ vision as he maneuvers through the defense and his speed as he blows past the secondary. However, the most exciting play he makes with his feet is at the 1:58 mark. The pocket immediately collapses and Hurts looks doomed. But he pulls off a Tony Romo spin move to get out of the pocket, then flips on the nitros and flies past defenders that have an angle on him.

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At the 7:00 mark, we see how difficult it is to tackle Hurts. A defender has a clear shot at him but Hurts spins out of a sack and breaks containment. He then breaks at least two more tackles before stepping out of bounds. Hurts is 6’2” and 195 lbs. as a junior. Unlike other high school stars in recent memory whose small stature has been a drawback (Kyler Murray, Johnny Manziel, etc.), Hurts is a physical specimen who will only get stronger when he is in a college football strength program. His strength and power are again on display at the 7:27 mark when he barrels through defenders to score a rushing touchdown in the red zone.

Throwing Motion:

Hurts has a compact throwing motion that allows him to get rid of the ball quickly. He throws the ball from a high point, meaning he doesn’t need to wind-up to throw the ball (a-la Tim Tebow). His arm is incredibly strong and most of his passes across the middle of the field are thrown on a line.

Below is a profile of Hurts as the Houston area Player of the Week:


Bad habits:

Hurts has a tendency to throw off of his back foot (see the play at the :46-second mark as an example). The competition he will face in college will feast on him if he does not rid himself of this habit, but it is coachable. Davis Webb suffered from this problem last year and he saw his interception rate soar. Taylor Potts was another back foot thrower who struggled with interceptions. Quarterbacks with elite arm strength learn that they can get away with poor footwork in high school, but this trait must be coached out of Hurts at the next level.

Hurts also has “happy feet” if the pocket shrinks. Elite athletes like Hurts know that they can run away from any high school defender so they often bounce around on their toes in the pocket. Hurts has great footwork on the plays where there is no pressure but when the pocket is smaller he bounces around which can alter his accuracy.

Hurts also throws the ball up for grabs more often than one would like to see. His confidence is high which is usually a positive trait but it can lead to problems. Last offseason, Webb was as confident as any Tech quarterback in memory. However, his confidence betrayed him because it made him think he could make the miraculous throws. Hurts also tries the make the miraculous throws and throws the ball into double coverage at times. He must learn discretion and understand that in college, the caliber of athletes he faces will make plays on the throws he got away with in high school.

Overall Analysis:

Texas Tech is going to have to fend off many of the top teams in America (Alabama, A&M, Michigan State and Kansas State among others) to land Hurts. He is an elite athlete who has passing skills beyond the range of almost any high school QB. The upside for Hurts is immeasurable. But if Tech can land Hurts, Red Raider fans should be dancing down Broadway because he could be a transcendent player that takes Tech’s offense to a never-before-seen level.