1667487623 Jalen Hurts returns to Houston as a rising star for

Jalen Hurts returns to Houston as a rising star for the Eagles

Jalen Hurts was quite the recruit when he was at Channelview High School, which is east of Houston. Just nothing to suggest he’d be an NFL MVP candidate one day.

Hurts was a four-star recruit at Rivals. He ranked ninth among dual-threat quarterbacks in his class. Here are the eight dual-threat quarterbacks ranked ahead of Hurts in the class of 2016: Shea Patterson, Malik Henry, Jarrett Guarantano, Khalil Tate, Shane Buechele, Max Gilliam, Devon Modster, Zerrick Cooper. College football fans might recognize some of these names. Some don’t ring at all. Only Buechele is on an NFL roster. He’s with the Kansas City Chiefs and has yet to snap an NFL snap.

Coming home Thursday night to face the Houston Texans, Hurts leads a Philadelphia Eagles team that is 7-0 and a Super Bowl contender. Hurts, Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes are considered the top three MVP candidates in the NFL this season. It was a great start for Hurts and his team.

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The rise of Hurts is a testament to work and development. None of this was guaranteed to him. Just look at the names that were considered better than him when he came out of high school.

Jalen Hurts had a bumpy ride to becoming an MVP nominee

Hurts’ road to stardom wasn’t easy.

He was Rivals’ 231st contestant in his high school class to be from Channelview. That’s about a 30-minute drive from NRG Stadium, where he will face the Texans on Thursday. It’s quite an achievement to be one of the top 250 high school football players in the nation. It just didn’t predict an NFL star.

Hurts went to Alabama, where he started as the first freshman quarterback for Nick Saban. In his junior year, he lost his starting job to Tua Tagovailoa. You won’t find many high-profile NFL quarterbacks who sat on the bench in college.

Hurts moved to Oklahoma, had a great season there, and became the Eagles’ second-round pick. It was an odd pick because the Eagles already had Carson Wentz. It turned out to be an extremely important choice, even if it didn’t exactly make sense at the time.

The story goes on

Hurts took over Wentz’s job late in his rookie season. As a rookie, he showed lightning. As a sophomore, he showed more. Then he exploded in his third season.

The story of Hurts has a common thread. Due to his constant improvement, he’s excelled at every stop (coaching helped too, being able to learn from Nick Saban, Lincoln Riley and now Nick Sirianni). Whether it was going to Alabama and starting before those higher-ranking prospects saw the field, reviving his career in Oklahoma after being benched, emerging as a rookie starter from the second round of the NFL draft, or starting from a question mark on the from the very talented Eagles to the MVP nominee of the last undefeated NFL team, Hurts has exceeded expectations at every stop.

Give him credit for that.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is in his third season as an MVP candidate.  (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is in his third season as an MVP candidate. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Hurts are having a great season

The rise of Hurts was one of the best stories this NFL season.

Hurt numbers are high in almost every category. He has 1,799 passing yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer rating has increased from 77.6 as a rookie to 87.2 last season and 105.1 this season. He also has 303 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground. Last week, Hurts had 285 passing yards and four touchdowns in a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, and it would have been a lot more if the Eagles hadn’t sat by a large margin in the second half.

More than statistical brilliance, Hurts has emerged as the leader in a team full of star players.

“[It’s]a way of trying to be a coach on the field and knowing what I’m supposed to be doing and knowing everyone’s work,” Hurts said, according to the Delaware News Journal. “I’m definitely challenging myself to do that, and it’s not easy. It takes a lot of preparation.”

It depends on his background. Hurts didn’t have an obvious pedigree from high school, college, or even his sophomore NFL season. He’s turned into an NFL star. That inspires respect.

“I think I’ve been through a lot of different things and a lot of different experiences,” Hurts said. “I’ve always felt like I was born for the storm and made to conquer anything in front of me. That’s the mentality I have.”