MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts insists that he hasn't thought of his future beyond Saturday's College Football Playoff semifinal game against Oklahoma, even as rumors swirl that he will transfer following the season.
"My story's far from over," Hurts said Thursday. "That's something that people said. Not me. Who said it was over?"
Hurts was 26-2 as a starter before being benched in favor of Tua Tagovailoa this season. Still, the junior appeared in 11 games and threw for 755 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions. He missed three games dealing with a high ankle sprain.
When Tagovailoa was knocked out of the fourth quarter of the SEC championship game against Georgia with a high ankle sprain, Hurts came on to lead the come-from-behind victory, throwing the game-tying touchdown pass and running in the go-ahead score.
Hurts spoke to the media in advance of the CFP semifinal game at the Capital One Orange Bowl, where the Crimson Tide play the Sooners on Saturday night.
"I've never said anything about transferring," Hurts said. "Those words have never come out of my mouth. It's always been kind of assumptions."
A number of times Hurts reiterated: "If I haven't spoken about it, I don't think there's a conversation to be had."
Hurts expressed frustration with the way his situation has been a subject of public discourse.
"Honestly it's nothing new for me," he said. "It's been something I've been able to deal with. When you're the backup quarterback and you don't speak, that's kind of what it's going to be."
He added: "I've been counted out. I was supposed to do this, I was supposed to do that. Even last year after the [championship] game, I was supposed to be gone. This year I was supposed to redshirt and do all those things. But I'm here. I'm here for my team and that's what is important to me."
Hurts acknowledged that he was upset after his benching in the national championship game last season, but said he hasn't changed.
"I'm always going to be a competitor," he said. "I was raised to compete. I'm a fighter. I think that explains itself."
Should Hurts choose to transfer, he would be immediately eligible because he graduated from Alabama earlier this month.
During graduation, Hurts received a standing ovation from many people in the audience.
Alabama coach Nick Saban called Hurts a model of perseverance.
"As a man and as a competitor you have values and try to do things the right way," Hurts said. "For me I've tried to do the best things for my team and ultimately be ready at any moment to play for my team. Because this is my team."