Alabama Football: What makes Joe Milton more special than Jalen Milroe

(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

As the 2023 college football season rapidly approaches, Alabama Football does not have a Heisman Trophy contender at quarterback. Look hard enough and you can find some longshot Heisman odds for Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson, but only on lists of 50 or more names.

College football ‘experts’ project that Tennessee Vol QB Joe Milton is a credible Heisman Contender. Maybe those experts are correct. Maybe they are not.

Milton gets considerable cred because he can throw the football basically from one end zone to another end zone. Some claim he can do it flat-footed. Whatever the reality, there is no denying Joe Milton has a big arm.

Milton will be in his sixth college football season this fall. He was a Michigan Wolverine for three seasons. His third season in Ann Arbor was in 2020. In the 2018 and 2019 seasons, he played in seven games and attempted a total of 11 passes. He was Michigan’s starter in 2020 but lost that job to Cade McNamara.

In the 2021 season, Milton appeared in eight games for Tennessee, as the backup quarterback. He was the backup again in 2022, until Hendon Hooker went down in the fourth quarter, as the Vols lost to South Carolina. In the two Tennessee games that followed; at Vanderbilt and in the Orange Bowl against Clemson, Milton performed well. How well can be debated. He completed just 11-of-21 passes in the win over Vanderbilt. He had a much stronger performance in the win over Clemson, going 19-of-28 for 251 yards and three touchdowns.

Milton’s career stats present a less rosy story. His career completion accuracy is 57.8%. Milton’s impressive Orange Bowl performance must also be considered against Clemson finishing the 2022 season as the ACC’s No. 12 team in the passing defense stat of allowing opponents to complete 61.3% of their passes.

Joe Milton is big, fast and likely has the SEC’s strongest arm. But if the necessary attributes for the success of an SEC QB was a list of ten strengths – fast and big arm would be No. 9 and No. 10.

Alabama Football – Jalen Milroe

Jalen Milroe is also big, fast and has a big arm. Those attributes do not guarantee his success or that he will become the Alabama Crimson Tide starter. Milroe’s and Milton’s stats cannot be fairly compared because Milroe only has 60 pass attempts in two seasons. But the widespread praise of Milton versus serious doubts about Milroe is not warranted. Milton appears to be benefitting from what Hendon Hooker and Josh Heupel’s offense did last season.

Will the opinions of Milton and Milroe radically change as the 2023 season progresses? We’ll have to wait and see.

Note: Player stats provided by Sports Reference

Next. For the Tide, no weak links at the top. dark

Any Alabama football fans interpreting this post as pro-Jalen Milroe or anti-Jalen Milroe are incorrect. I am pulling for all the Crimson Tide guys and may the best one win. I’ll not be rooting for Joe Milton.