Jalen Hurts, His Backpack, and a Young Fan Might Be NFL’s Top Feel-Good Story
As a rookie quarterback taken in the second round and playing behind Carson Wentz, Jalen Hurts isn’t expected to make a splash on the field for the Philadelphia Eagles this season. Off the field, Hurts is certainly making a difference. Just ask 6-year-old Alexander August and his mother Nikki Godfrey.
Jalen Hurts and his path to the NFL
Jalen Hurts didn’t take the conventional road to the NFL. He began as the starter for Alabama as a true freshman and dominated as he threw for 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns while rushing for 954 yards and nine more scores. Hurts led Alabama to the College Football Playoff National Championship where the Crimson Tide fell to Clemson 35-31.
In his sophomore year, Hurts again had a stellar season. Hurts and the Crimson Tide reached the NCAA title game once again after he totaled 25 touchdowns. Against Georgia in the championship, Hurts was struggling and was benched for true freshman Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa rallied the Tide to a 26-23 victory.
Tagovailoa began the next season as the starting quarterback. Hurts only attempted 70 passes in 2018 and then announced prior to his senior year that he would be transferring to Oklahoma. In his first game with the Sooners, Hurts totaled 508 yards of offense, and he went on to throw for 3,851 yards and rush for 1,298 yards. He scored a total of 52 touchdowns and took the Sooners to the College Football Playoff. He finished second in the Heisman voting.
Hurts a fan favorite with the Philadelphia Eagles
Although the selection of Jalen Hurts in the second round may have stunned some Philadelphia Eagles fans, he has shown he’s a talented quarterback. Carson Wentz is a proven young quarterback but has been prone to injuries. The addition of Hurts gives the Eagles a talented quarterback and an insurance policy.
Hurts made news recently when he became friendly on social media with a 6-year-old boy after the boy’s mother posted how much of a fan her son, Alexander, was of Hurts. Nikki Godfrey, Alexander’s mother, had asked her two boys what kind of backpacks they wanted for school. Both boys are football fans. Alexander’s older brother, 8-year-old Brayden, wanted one of his favorite player Cam Newton, while Alexander requested a Jalen Hurts backpack.
Finding backpacks of second-round picks is challenging, if not impossible. Godfrey had no luck finding one, so her mother, Cynthia, printed one with Hurts’ name and number, according to philadelphiaeagles.com. Nikki then posted a photo of the backpack on social media, tagging Jalen Hurts.
Hurts responds with his own homemade backpack
Jalen Hurts was notified of Nikki Godfrey’s tweet and did much more than just ‘like’ the post. He had the backpack duplicated and had Alexander’s name put on it. Hurts told philadelphiaeagles.com that he remembered the days of being a young fan and getting the chance to meet some of his favorite players.
“Now to have the same platform in a sense and to be able to touch so many people, I try to take advantage of every opportunity I can. It’s a blessing. That means the world to me,” Hurts said. “That’s what it’s all about – giving back, showing love, and helping others. That’s what it comes down to. That’s the rent we pay to live on this earth.”
“It was refreshing that he gravitated toward someone like Jalen,” said Nikki. “You want your kids to excel in whatever their passion is, but you also want them to understand that it’s equally as important to be a good person and to take time and give back and recognize the blessing that you have, and I think they see all of that in him.”