Houston football fans looking for someone to root for in an Eagles-Chiefs Super Bowl need look no further than the quarterback in green. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts grew up as a coach’s son in Channelview on the east side of Harris County before he blew up into one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks at 24 years old.
When he leads his Eagles against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12, Hurts will be the first player from Houston to start at quarterback in a Super Bowl. He also will be attempting to become the first Super Bowl MVP from Houston, and the odds are on his side as betting lines have him as a slight favorite over Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes — another Texas native — to take home that award.
Here’s a look at Jalen Hurts’ roots in Channelview and how they led him to the cusp of a Super Bowl title …
In high school, Jalen Hurts put up video game numbers
Hurts started getting big-time offers from colleges when he put up a combined 3,500 yards and 40 touchdowns as a junior at Channelview. He topped that his senior season with more than 3,700 total yards and 51 touchdowns.
Channelview High School turnaround
As a senior, Hurts led Channelview to the playoffs for the first time in 22 years. The Falcons did it with a high-powered offense led by Hurts, scoring at least 49 points in eight of their 11 games, including an 82-14 spanking of Aldine.
Brother played quarterback, too
Jalen’s older brother Averion Jr., was the Channelview quarterback before Jalen and went on to play at Texas Southern. One of Jalen’s goals in high school was to avenge all of his brother’s losses. He did that in part when he became the first Channelview quarterback to beat district rival North Shore. He did it in thrilling fashion, throwing a 36-yard touchdown pass as time expired to beat the powerhouse Mustangs 49-48 in 2014.
Hurts grew up as a die-hard Astros fan, but despite that photo going around social media (it’s from 2020, not 2022), he never publicly said who he was rooting for in last year’s Astros-Phillies World Series. Although he’s worn Astros gear to press conferences, he played it cool during the World Series, telling the media, “I’m Houston born and raised. I love my city. That’s my hometown, but my home now is Philly. And I love this city too, so that’s how I deal with it.”
If you’ve watched any Eagles games since Hurts has taken over at quarterback, you’ve probably heard tales of his weight room exploits. It all started at Channelview High School where his dad had him compete on the powerlifting team. During a meet when he was just 16 years old, Hurts squatted 570 pounds, bench-pressed 275 pounds and dead-lifted 585 pounds. Hurts also competed in the shot put during track season.
Overcame adversity at Alabama
Despite going 26-2 as a starter in two seasons including leading Alabama to the national title game as a true freshman against Deshaun Watson and Clemson, Hurts lost his job at halftime of the 2017 national championship game. He stuck around for his junior season even though he was in a quarterback room with Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones, both future first-round picks. He replaced Tagovailoa in the 2018 SEC championship game and led his team to a win. After getting his degree from Alabama in December 2018, he announced he was transferring to Oklahoma for the 2019 season.
Heisman campaign at Oklahoma
Hurts had a huge year in his one season at Oklahoma, including setting the school record with 508 total yards in the season opener against Houston. Hurts led the Sooners to the College Football Playoff and finished second in Heisman Trophy voting behind LSU’s Joe Burrow, who has led the Bengals to two straight AFC championship game appearances.
NFL Draft: When was Jalen Hurts drafted?
The Eagles grabbed Hurts late in the second round of the 2020 draft, making him the fifth quarterback selected behind Joe Burrow (No. 1 to the Bengals), Tua Tagovailoa (No. 5 to the Dolphins), Justin Herbert (No. 6 to the Chargers) and Jordan Love (No. 26 to the Packers). For those curious, the Texans drafted defensive tackle Ross Blacklock with their second-round pick that year, 13 spots before the Eagles took Hurts.