I want to preface this article with this comment, graduate transfers are a little different to me because it's hard to say if the transfer was for academic reasons or football reasons. I am going to assume that Jalen Hurts leaving Alabama was because he wanted to go to grad school at Oklahoma and not because he wanted to be OU's starting quarterback.
If I am wrong, however, then he is part of this trend that is now hitting college football. the backup transfers.
Transferring has been a thing with colleges for a very long time, but the creation of the transfer portal last season has led to players who lost their starting positions to leave their school and play somewhere else, presumably as the starter.
To be fair, I believe players should have the right to transfer and not have it affect their eligibility. Very, and I mean VERY, few positions in life have rules that prevent someone from going from one place to another and have to wait to be able to do anything. If players want to transfer to get a better education, be closer to home, or literally any other reason, I've got no issue with them being eligible to play.
The problem with what some of these guys have done is that it means they would rather transfer to be a starter than compete to get their spot back.
It's a SOFT move.
It reminds me of the saying "To be the man, you gotta beat the man." Well, some of these players have decided that instead of beating the man, they'll just go be the man somewhere else. A large part of sports is competing to make yourself better, but transferring to another school simply to be a starter again means, in some sense, they think the guy they lost their spot to is so much better than them that the transfer-er will never be better than them.
What makes this a much bigger problem for college football and the NFL going forward is that it hurts competition. Since we're on the subjecting of hurting, let's go back to Jalen Hurts transferring to Oklahoma. Hurts leaving Alabama for OU means that Oklahoma now has Alabama's second best QB and Austin Kendall transferred from Oklahoma to West Virginia, which means they have the fourth best QB at Oklahoma over the past two years.
On-paper, the gap just widened between the teams that had quarterbacks transfer out and the teams they transferred to. Obviously, coaching is a factor, which is why I said that the gap is currently on-paper, but having less talent to start with doesn't help. With parity increasing at the college level, the best coaches are going to be at the top, which is why Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Georiga, and Ohio State remain near the top every year.
From the NFL side of things, the fact that players would rather leave than compete lowers the talent overall because there isn't as much of a push to improve internally. More importantly, it's hard to be one of the best college football players, but being elite enough to be a starter at the pro-level is even harder. In D1 college football, there are 2,860 starters versus 704 starters in the pros, and the NFL has way more players competing for those spots.
"To be the man, you gotta beat the man," and if any of these transfer quarterbacks want to be the man at the pro-level, they will have to challenge the man.