Jalen Hurts stood on Oklahoma’s practice field looking eerily familiar.
The visor on his facemask and No. 1 jersey he wore evoked images of Kyler Murray, who won the Heisman Trophy last season and led the Sooners to the College Football Playoff.
Hurts isn’t scheduled to meet with media for another three weeks, but the graduate transfer from Alabama drew plenty of eyes while working through his first official practice Thursday in Norman.
Listed at 6 feet 2, 219 pounds on the freshly minted spring roster, he had a hulking presence compared to the 5-foot-10 Murray. Hurts hasn’t been given the starting job yet — Lincoln Riley said he’ll compete with redshirt freshman Tanner Mordecai in the spring, and top prospect Spencer Rattler will join the fray in the fall — but most expect Hurts will assume the starting role.
He’s already made an impression on teammates.
"He's a well-spoken kid. He picks up where the rest of the Heismans left off. He talks about a lot of things, what we ought to work on,” cornerback Tre Brown said. “He preaches that everybody needs to compete, not just the offense, but the defense. He's not just one-sided. He cares about us all, and that's a big difference."
Sophomore defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles notices Hurts’ experience most.
“Jalen is a leader. He’s the big brother of our team,” he said. “I look at him as a great role model. It’s funny, because he’s right here with us, he’s not too far in age from us. But he’s a cool, laid-back guy. He just handles his business. I talk to him all the time, he’s cool.”
• Radley-Hiles mum on injury: Riley said part of Radley-Hiles’ progression as a player will be dependent on his health. He was not 100 percent after a violent hit against Kansas State last season.
Radley-Hiles wouldn’t divulge what the injury was Thursday, but said it was something he had to play through.
“I got over it, but that was a big deal,” he said. “I’m gonna remember that hit for the rest of my life, I’ll just say that.”
• Grinch settling in: It’s been a whirlwind few months for Alex Grinch since being hired as the Sooner defensive coordinator.
From one-on-one meetings with players, to recruiting and some light media obligations, he admitted it’s been stressful — and that’s how it’s supposed to be, he said. His family has finally moved to Norman, which helps.
“That makes everything better,” he said. “It makes the whole thing go.”
• Murray all-in on pro day, per report: Kyler Murray, who didn’t conduct physical testing at the NFL combine and has had his measurements come into question, will participate in full testing at OU’s pro day March 13, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Citing sources, Rapoport says Murray will run the 40-yard dash and conduct his regular passing workout in addition to being weighed and measured.
Dan Patrick grabbed attention Wednesday saying a scout told him Murray’s 5-foot-10 and 1/8 inch height at the NFL combine had been “inflated.”