Alabama Football: Is the quarterback battle really a two-man race?

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football enters the spring with some question marks, the biggest of which being the well-documented quarterback competition. Following the departure of former Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, the position is vacant in Tuscaloosa, and there is no obvious heir apparent.

Redshirt sophomore Jalen Milroe and redshirt freshman Ty Simpson have taken up the headlines from the day Young’s career concluded in New Orleans. Milroe and Simpson are similar in that they both have lots of ability and potential, but are unproven at the collegiate level. Beyond that, they are very different quarterbacks, each with their own distinct strengths and weaknesses.

Jalen Milroe spent 2022 as Bryce Young’s backup. He got mop-up reps leading the offense, and was forced to play extended snaps for a stretch due to Young’s shoulder injury. This stretch, which included a start against Texas A&M, was an invaluable learning experience for Jalen Milroe. In many ways, it was a case of trial by fire, which can have positive or negative results.

Milroe is an incredible athlete and a constant threat on the ground, but he appeared to lack polish as a passer during his opportunities last season. However, due to the small sample size, no one can say for sure what Jalen Milroe is as a quarterback.

Ty Simpson is an even bigger mystery. The former 5-star from the class of 2022 played sparingly last fall, attempting just five passes all year. He is projected to be an effective downfield passer, and is a dual threat in his own right. His talent can be estimated based on his high school rankings and performances, but what Simpson will eventually be as an SEC quarterback is completely unknown.

Alabama Football: Can anyone else join the race?

Many wondered if Alabama would dip into the transfer portal for a proven signal-caller, but it seems as though Nick Saban is content with what he has at the position.

Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson will be joined in the 2023 quarterback room by a pair of true freshmen. Eli Holstein and Dylan Lonergan were both 4-star quarterbacks in the 2023 class, and both enrolled early to be on campus this spring.

The main advantage that Milroe and Simpson have over the newcomers are their time in the program, consisting of two years and one year of experience, respectively.

Holstein and Lonergan’s status as early enrollees, along with the fact that Alabama football is breaking in a new offensive coordinator, could potentially shrink the gap between the returners and the rookies.

Next. Change is coming to college football. dark

It seems like a longshot, but can either of these two true freshmen play well enough in the spring to insert their names into the Alabama football quarterback conversation?