Jalen Hurts went from a true freshman starter at Alabama to backing up Tua Tagovailoa as a junior, so he needed to make his senior season count in 2019.
When considering transfer options, Hurts gravitated to Oklahoma, in large part due to Kyler Murray.
Much like Hurts, Murray had one season to vastly improve his NFL stock, and couldn't have done any better, winning the Heisman Trophy and becoming the No. 1 overall pick after the 2018 season.
Hurts, a similar dual threat quarterback, started for the Sooners last year and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting to Joe Burrow. He was drafted in the second round by the Eagles and will make his second career start on Sunday against Murray and the Cardinals.
"Kyler is a great player, an OU legend," Hurts told the Philadelphia media on Wednesday. "He paved the way for a guy like me to come in there and have an opportunity to put my name in the same air as his."
Murray had a much-publicized Sooner showdown against former teammate Baker Mayfield last season, which the Cardinals won, 38-24. Almost exactly one year later, he will face off against Hurts.
"I met him when he got to OU," Murray said. "That was the first time I ever met him. I didn't really get to spend a lot of time with him, just because that was a quick time period for me, getting drafted as well as trying to make him as comfortable as possible in his transition from Alabama to OU. I didn't really get to spend much time with him, but I obviously watched him play at OU."
Hurts had a fantastic first start for Philadelphia, throwing for 167 yards and rushing for 106 to help spark an upset of the NFC-leading Saints on Sunday. It wasn't a big surprise to Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, who recruited Hurts when he was in high school.
"I've known Jalen a long time – tremendous person and player and great athlete," Kingsbury said. "You could tell just the way he carried himself in high school that he had a special future, and so to see him take it to this level has been a lot of fun to follow."
When Murray faced off against Mayfield, he said there weren't any extra emotions, but admitted it was nice to secure some bragging rights.
"I want to win every game," Murray said. "Just because I was playing Bake, does it add a little extra? Yeah. Between me and him there is obviously a little competition there, but it was all love at the end of the day. I wanted to win for us."
Eagles coach Doug Pederson doesn't want Hurts thinking too much about the quarterback on the other side on Sunday.
"He knows, and of course Kyler knows (about the head-to-head matchup), and there's probably a great relationship there between those two," Pederson said. "But my biggest thing with Jalen is to focus on us and focus on our offense, and try to help us prepare this week and play this team on Sunday. I won't necessarily make it a big mention to him, other than to just do what he's coached and let his ability take over."
JALEN THOMPSON OUT, EDMONDS A GAME-DAY DECISION AGAINST EAGLES
Safety Jalen Thompson (ankle) won't play against the Eagles. Kingsbury is hoping to get him back before the end of the season. Running back Chase Edmonds (ankle), who missed practice on Wednesday, will be a game-day decision, Kingsbury said.
Kicker Zane Gonzalez, who missed last week's win over the Giants with a back injury, also missed practice on Wednesday. Veteran kicker Mike Nugent was 4-for-4 on field goals in his stead, although a missed 55-yarder was waived off due to a false start penalty.
The others who didn't practice were left guard Justin Pugh (calf), linebacker De'Vondre Campbell (ankle), cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (hamstring), defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (hamstring), wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (not injury-related), defensive tackle Domata Peko (not injury-related) and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (not inury-related). Phillips has also been ruled out for Sunday.
Right tackle Kelvin Beachum (back) and running back Jonathan Ward (shoulder) were limited.
For the Eagles, cornerback Darius Slay (concussion), cornerback Avonte Maddox (knee), tackle Jack Driscoll (knee), safety Grayland Arnold (hamstring) and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (not injury-related) did not practice.
Those limited were linebacker T.J. Edwards (hamstring), safety Rudy Ford (hamstring), defensive tackle Malik Jackson (concussion), cornerback Michael Jacquet (hamstring) and defensive end Josh Sweat (shoulder).
DANIELS, MAURO DESIGNATED TO RETURN FROM IR
Tight end Darrell Daniels (ankle) and defensive lineman Josh Mauro (hamstring) have been designated to return from injured reserve. The Cardinals have 21 days to activate them to the 53-man roster.
Images from the 26-7 victory at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.