Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Jalen Hurts leads Eagles to big win in season opener, keeps trusting in God

Jalen Hurts put on a show in his first game as the undisputed leader and starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles.

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The second-year pro completed 27 of his 35 pass attempts for 264 yards and three touchdowns in Philadelphia’s 32-6 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Hurts connected with former college teammate and No. 10 overall pick DeVonta Smith for an 18-yard touchdown in the first quarter to take a 7-3 lead. It was the first catch of Smith’s career.

Hurts then found tight end Dallas Goedert in the end zone just before halftime for his second touchdown pass of the day.

The former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback also rushed for 62 yards as the Eagles scored 17 unanswered points in the second half to secure a comfortable victory.

“All the hard work we put in, all the different changes we’ve endured and had to overcome and persevere through — new coaching, new values as a football team — and buying into it and coming out here Week 1 and starting off the right way, I think that’s good,” Hurts said after the game. “We started off well.”

After being taken by Philadelphia in the second round of 2020’s draft, Hurts spent most of his rookie season backing up Carson Wentz. He was given his first start in Week 14 and was the team’s starter for the final four games, throwing for more than 300 yards twice.

When the Eagles traded Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts this past offseason, Hurts was given the keys to the franchise and named one of the team’s captains.

The Houston, Texas, native led the Crimson Tide to two national championship game appearances in his freshman and sophomore seasons before losing the starting job to Tua Tagovailoa. Hurts sat behind Tagovailoa for a year and transferred to Oklahoma for his final year of eligibility, guiding the Sooners to the College Football Playoff and finishing second in Heisman Trophy voting.

Hurts wrote a piece for the Players’ Tribune following his departure from Alabama thanking the school and its fans for their support. In it, he also discussed his faith and his belief God can use the challenges he experienced for His glory.

“I understand that God put those obstacles and challenges in my life for a reason,” Hurts wrote. “He wanted me to feel the pain I felt for a reason. He wanted me to understand the importance of never losing faith — and of always staying true to myself. He had NOT brought me this far just to leave me there.”

The 23-year-old actively shares his faith on social media and has a banner photo on Twitter that says, “Be who God called you to be.”

Though his journey to becoming a starting quarterback in the NFL has been a rather unconventional one, Hurts has always trusted God’s timing and plan.

“I know everything will unfold according to God’s timing,” he said in the Players’ Tribune article. “I am blessed to be where my feet are; my trust is in His hands.”

Hurts and the Eagles host the San Francisco 49ers in their home opener Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.

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