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Hurts expected to visit Miami Sunday - Rivals.com

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Fresh off the hiring of Alabama Quarterbacks Coach Dan Enos as offensive coordinator, CaneSport has learned that Alabama Quarterback Jalen Hurts will visit Miami as soon as Sunday and consider a transfer to the Hurricanes.

Hurts, who started for Alabama in 2016 and 2017, has announced he will transfer. He led the Crimson Tide to the National Title game both seasons but spent the past season as backup up to Tua Tagovailoa.

Hurts has one year left to play at the school of his choice and Miami is right in the mix, especially after the hiring of Enos, who coached him this past season.

But sources also told CaneSport that Hurts is scheduled to visit Maryland this weekend before he comes to Coral Gables. New Maryland Head Coach Mike Locksley was Alabama's offensive coordinator this season.

So there is still a lot of work to do here as many other schools around the country are trying to get into the Hurts sweepstakes.

Hurts completed 72.9 percent of his passes for 765 yards with eight TDs and two interceptions while adding 167 rush yards and two more scores.

In his 'Bama career he's thrown for 5,626 yards with 48 TDs and 12 interceptions (hitting on 62.9 percent of his throws). Hurts has also run for 1,976 career yards with 23 more touchdowns.

Here is our analysis of Hurts' options:

MIAMI

The Hurricanes just hired Hurts' quarterback coach at Alabama, which gives Hurts a great opportunity to come in and claim the starting job and also have a role in building out the new offense.

Miami averaged 28.8 points and 358.8 yards per game (167.3 passing).last year and Manny Diaz has made it clear that he wants a whole new look on that side of the ball.

Hurts main competition would be N'Kosi Perry, who was an on-and-off starter as a redshirt freshman and didn't perform consistently well (50.8 completion percentage, 1,091 yards, 13 TDs and six INTs; added 169 rush yards and another score). He also has been a discipline issue in his short tenure, as has fellow redshirt freshman Cade Weldon.

True freshman Jarren Williams has weighed transferring but appears ready to stay at Miami. as long as he is happy with Diaz' choice of Enos. Williams could continue his development and learn under Enos and Hurts should Hurts choose Miami. Neither Weldon or Williams would be likely to challenge Hurts as the starter next season.

The bottom line? Hurts could come into a situation where there is talent at running back (Deejay Dallas, Cam Davis, Lorenzo Lingard), potential at wide receiver (young, fast wideouts) and up-and-coming tight ends (Brevin Jordan, Will Mallory). The O-line situation might cause Hurts pause, but transfer Tommy Kennedy was highly sought and should be able to hold down the left tackle spot. He'll join three other returning starters (Navaughn Donaldson, DJ Scaife and Hayden Mahoney), giving hope to a group that was simply not very good in 2018.

To win out Miami must convince Hurts why the line ... and the offense in general ... will be better than a year ago and help him showcase his talent to the NFL. Coaches also need to show Hurts why he can thrive in the ACC Coastal vs. other spots where he might face much tougher defenses.

Of the four schools on this list, Miami appears the best suited spot if Hurts wants a school where he's virtually assured to walk in and be the uncontested starter and be surrounded by a decent cast of skill players.

Here is why:

MARYLAND

A reason Maryland could be a final destination for Hurts? New coach Mike Locksley, who coached Hurts the last two years as his coordinator at 'Bama. So Hurts would be comfortable with the kind of offense that will be run. But a detriment here: There is returning talent at QB, and that could give Hurts some pause. Both Tyrrell Pigrome (376 yards, 2 TDs) and Max Bortenschlager had considered transferring but decided to return after talking with Locksley, and last year's starter Kasim Hill threw for 1,083 yards with nine TDs and four interceptions but tore his ACL in game 10.

So would Hurts be guaranteed a starting job in his one year at the program? Not necessarily.

Maryland is also not going to compete at a very high level. The team is coming off a losing season and averaged 381.6 yards per game (only 137.3 passing). The team ran the ball 451 times and passed it 218 times, although that will change under Locksley.

The returning talent? RB Anthony McFarland - a name familiar to Cane fans as a former commit - had 1,022 yards and will be back. No receiver had more than 300 yards a year ago, which could also give Hurts some pause.

If not for Locksley it would be hard to imagine Hurts even considering Maryland. Can the coach be the deciding factor? We'll see.

OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma has proven success with transfer quarterbacks, which could be a major draw for Hurts. Heisman-trophy winner Kyler Murray transferred from Texas A&M and now is gone; Baker Mayfield was another transfer QB (from Texas Tech) that Oklahoma turned into a Heisman winner.

Hurts would have to compete with Austin Kendall (12 of 17 passing, 122 yards, TD this season), Tanner Moredecai (2-4, 37 passing yards) and incoming freshman Spencer Rattler. Kendall is a former four-star who was rated the No. 4 pro-style quarterback in the nation in 2016 by Rivals.com; Mordecai was a three-star who redshirted as a freshman; and Rattler is a five-star signee who is the nation's top ranked dual-threat quarterback.

Oklahoma finished this year ranked No. 4 in the nation and a case will be made by Sooner coaches that Hurts would have a chance to face Alabama in a national title game playing at the program given the pieces in place.

That might be tough to turn down if Hurts feels the QB system fits him well.

But ... and this is a big `but' ... Hurts has been in a situation where a highly touted younger QB passed him by and put him on the bench. And the possibility certainly exists that Rattler could pass everyone by and start in Year 1. That's his level of talent. And that's likely to give Hurts plenty of pause.

This past season Oklahoma averaged 48.4 points and 570.3 yards (322.9 passing) and threw the ball 401 times and ran it 527 times. No doubt the staff will preach to Hurts that he can use his athleticism and point to Murray, who had 4,361 pass yards, 1,001 rush yards and 53 total touchdowns. Plus both top RBs are back (Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon), as is wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (1,158 yards). But wideout Marquise Brown (1,318 yards) is leaving early for the NFL. Another factor: The team loses three offensive line starters including Cody Ford, who is leaving early for the NFL.

In terms of pure talent, Oklahoma and Ohio State have the most on offense of the programs listed here.

TEXAS CHRISTIAN

TCU is an intriguing option for Hurts - the team is coming off a 7-6 season in which the offense averaged 23.5 points and 368.1 yards per game (211.5 passing).

The team used three different quarterbacks that combined for 18 passing TDs with 15 interceptions, and Hurts would be virtually assured of stepping in as the starter from Day 1 - Gary Patterson needs a QB with Shawn Robinson (1,334 yards, 9 TDs) leaving for Missouri.

The team has one of the nation's top receivers in Jalen Reagor (1,061 yards, nine TDs) as well as returning running backs Darius Anderson (644 yards, 3 TDs) and Sewo Olonilua (635 yards, 2 TDs). Overall there are nine returning starters on offense.

TCU also should have one of the nation's more talented defenses.

Another wildcard in TCU's favor: Hurts is from the state, so he'd be going back home. And TCU showed with Kenny Hill (Texas A&M transfer) that a transplant can fare well there.

The issue here is that the offense just wasn't real good this past season and Hurts would need to be convinced it will somehow be a lot better in 2019 and let him showcase his skills for the NFL. That might be a tough sell.

But overall TCU could be a nice landing spot for Hurts given that he'd be assured the starting job and has some offensive talent he could help get the best from.

AUBURN

Auburn loses quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who declared early for the NFL Draft, and last season he threw for 18 touchdowns with five interceptions. So Gus Malzahn is looking for a QB and his power spread could fit Hurts well.

Hurts will be aided by the return of top running back JaTarvious Whitlow (787 yards, 6 TDs), and at wide receiver Ryan Davis (546 yards) and Darius Slayton (670 yards) are gone but standout freshman Seth Williams (534 yards) is back.

This past season Auburn went 8-5 and averaged scoring 30.9 points per game with 389.9 average yards (222.5 passing). The team ran the ball 512 times and passed it 382 times.

Another factor here: By playing at Auburn, Hurts would get to face his former team. But does he really want to face Alabama? Hmm.

This is a spot that could make some sense for Hurts given the QB situation and scheme. Plus he's familiar with the conference opponents Auburn will face, which gives him a leg up.

FLORIDA STATE

FSU is an intriguing situation given there's been spotty QB play but a roster loaded with four-star talent.

The team may have starter Deondre Francois (2,731 pass yards, 103 rush yards, 18 total TDs) back, but there is a lot of speculation he would like to transfer himself.

James Blackman, who also has starts to his credit (510 pass yards, five TDs this year and started in 2017), also returns.

Would Hurts be confident he'd stay ahead of both on the depth chart if he has some issues here or there? That's a question he will no doubt consider given no other program on this list has two returning quarterbacks that have both started games.

Like Miami, FSU had its share of offensive issues this year ... and also had a lot of questions surrounding its new coaching staff. The Noles finished 5-7 and loses standout receiver Nyqwan Murray (54 catches, 744 yards) but does have back Tamorrion Terry (35 catches, 744 yards). The run game loses Jacques Patrick (378 yards) but has back Cam Akers (706 yards). And the offensive line loses three redshirt senior starters, which won't help matters.

Overall FSU averaged 361.2 yards (270.1 passing) and 21.9 points per game, while throwing 455 times and running the ball 392 times.

If Hurts picks the Noles he will have to be convinced that the offensive performance this past season was an aberration and that there is plenty of offensive talent on hand. That might be a tough sell, but we believe Wille Taggart has already met with the Hurts family.

HOUSTON

Houston is home turf for Hurts, which is a big draw for the school. Plus new coach Dana Holgorsen has a history of tutoring QBs (including UF transfer Will Grier).

That's the plus side argument for why the 'Bama transfer could wind up at Houston.

On the other side? Well, the team already has a standout returning quarterback in D'Eriq King. It would be hard to see Hurts picking a situation where he's not going to be essentially guaranteed a chance to show off his skillset for NFL scouts.

King, who had surgery in November for a torn meniscus, threw for 2,982 yards in 11 games with 36 touchdowns and only six interceptions. Plus he ran for 674 yards and 14 more scores.

So that makes it a tough situation for Hurts.

This is a team that is coming off an 8-5 season and averaged 43.9 points and 510.6 yards per game (294.9 passing). So it is an offense that would let Hurts show off his ability quite well.

Top running back Patrick Carr (xx) is gone, but standout receiver Marquez Stevenson returns after catching 75 passes for 1,019 yards with nine TDs. The team does lose Keith Corbin (691 receiving yards, 10 TDs).

With King on board we see Houston as a longshot even with the home field edge.

FLORIDA

The Gators are another in-state school that could be intriguing for Hurts.

This is a team that is coming off a strong season and has plenty of talent ... plus UF plays in an SEC that is familiar for Hurts.

Dan Mullen also will likely cite Dak Prescott in his case for Hurts - it was under Mullen at Mississippi State that the now-NFL QB really had his level of play take off.

But a big question here will be if Hurts wants to compete with Felipe Franks (24 TD passes, six interceptions; 350 rush yards and seven more TDs). Franks helped lead UF to double digit wins and a major bowl victory.

Plus Emory Jones is another ultra-talented young QB on the roster.

While many would say Hurts easily beats out Franks and Jones, those two signal callers on the roster make Hurts-to-Florida a more questionable proposition. There are other programs where the path to starting is much smoother.

The team averaged a healthy 35 points and 426.7 yards per game (213.5 passing), and UF could make the argument that with Hurts at the helm the Gators can push for a national title run. Certainly there's returning talent on offense, including RB Lamical Perine (team high 826 yards, seven TDs) and WR Van Jefferson (team high 503 yards, six TDs). RB Jordan Scarlett (776 yards) left early for the NFL Draft.

ARKANSAS

Arkansas is on Hurts' radar for one reason: Chad Morris.

The coach recruited Hurts out of high school and the Razorbacks are in search of a signal caller to lead the team in 2019 - Ty Storey (nine starts) is transferring after throwing for 1,584 yards with 11 TDs and 10 INTs. The team also started Cole Kelley twice and Connor Noland once but neither would be competition for Hurts if he picked the program.

The negative here? This is a team that won just two games (Eastern Illinois, Tulsa) and was 0-8 in SEC play. The team averaged 21.7 points and just 335.7 yards per game (192.2 passing). Top RB Rakeem Boyd (734 yards, 2 TDs) and WR La'Michael Pettway (499 yards, 4 TDs) will return, but overall there's just not a lot of talent on hand. For that reason we think this is a major longshot in the Hurts hunt.

If Hurts is going to consider Arkansas it will be for this reason: The opportunity to be a starter from Day 1 and work with Morris. Is that out of the realm of possibility? No. But there are better options based on our analysis.

TENNESSEE

Tennessee is an unlikely landing spot for Hurts, but it is a program he's expected to consider.

Why is he unlikely to wind up a Vol?

Well, Hurts isn't guaranteed the starting job and Jeremy Pruitt isn't likely to guarantee it for Hurts. That's because Jarrett Guarantano is a developing talent who returns off a year in which he had 1,907 passing yards with 12 TDs and three interceptions. As one local article put it, Guarantano is "the key to Vols future." Still, Pruitt is a former 'Bama assistant, and new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney has a solid reputation for developing quarterbacks.

This past season Tennessee won five games and averaged 22.8 points and 325.5 yards per game (196.4 passing).

There is returning talent: Top running backs Ty Chandler (630 yards) and Tim Jordan (522 yards) return, and there were three non-senior receivers this year with over 400 yards - Marquez Callaway (592 yards), Josh Palmer (484 yards) and Jauan Jennings (438 yards).

But with the QB situation it's hard to imagine Hurts wanting to engage in the current situation.

OHIO STATE

A wildcard here could be Justin Fields, who transferred to Ohio State and is applying for immediate eligibility - he likely won't hear on that for more than a month. So that could throw an immediate wrench into Ohio State's plan of luring Hurts as a one-year plug-and-play.

Tate Martell is the other obstacle for Hurts - the redshirt sophomore was a four-star who was rated the No. 2 dual-threat QB in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com. He's got a world of potential.

Now, if Hurts feels he can beat out Martell and isn't concerned about Fields, certainly Ohio State is an attractive option. The team is coming off a one-loss season, and with Ryan Day coaching the offense will remain in its present form.

This past season Ohio State averaged 42.4 points and 535.6 yards per game (364.3 passing), and starting QB Dwayne Haskins - who is leaving early for the NFL - threw for 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns this season while adding 108 rush yards and another four scores. The team ran the ball 570 times and passed it 561 times this season.

The returning pieces? Top wideout Parris Campbell (1,063 yards, 12 TDs) is gone, but K.J. Hill said he'll return for his senior season - he had 885 yards and six touchdowns. Running back J.K Dobbins is back after running for 1,053 yards and 10 scores, but Mike Weber declared early for the NFL Draft (he had 954 yards and five scores).

Also something for Hurts to consider: The only main returning offensive line starter next season is left tackle Thayer Munford.

Ohio State has a lot of potential and, like UM, has a new head coach. If Hurts feels he can come in and start at Ohio State, he could potentially put up staggering numbers. But it's also a big question if he'd win the starting job.

FAU

It's hard to imagine Hurts choosing FAU over much bigger "name" programs. So why could the Owls be in the equation? Well, one name: Lane Kiffin. Kiffin and Hurts have a strong history dating to Hurts' recruitment and his outstanding start at Alabama.

But picking FAU means playing in Conference USA against inferior talent ... and with inferior talent.

Yes, Hurts would start right away.

Yes, Hurts would get plenty of game tape for NFL teams.

But this one just doesn't make a lot of sense if Hurts wants to prove he can be a quarterback in a high level system against high level competition.

The returning starter at QB is Chris Robinson, but he threw for 12 TDs with 12 INTs and it's a no-brainer that Hurts would start over him.

The team also loses a lot of talent gone are top wideouts Jovon Durante (873 yards, 5 TDs) and Harrison Bryant (662 yards, 4 TDs) as well as top running back Devin Singletary (1,358 yards, 22 TDs).

We just don't see this one happening.

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