Alabama Football has dragged out its quarterback competition all offseason, and the battle has largely resulted in more questions than answers. While the Crimson Tide seem to have finally settled on a starter, this QB room is far from reaching its final alignment.
Alabama Football QB1: Jalen Milroe
Though questions about his ability were raised constantly, Jalen Milroe never really relinquished the QB1 spot all through the spring and throughout fall camp.
Milroe enters his third season in the program after sitting behind a generational talent in Bryce Young for the past two years. He is an incredible athlete, perhaps the best in the country at the quarterback position, and he has a big arm.
Milroe has been working to improve things like his passing touch, his proficiency in reading defenses, and his attention to detail in protecting the football, all of which appeared to be weaknesses last season.
The redshirt sophomore has limited experience, but he has been groomed for this moment and will have every opportunity to secure the job when the season kicks off.
If he plays poorly, however, those questions and negative commentary will persist. Although no one ever surpassed Milroe, this QB competition was very close. Too many other guys have played well for Milroe to have a long leash if he isn’t performing well.
With Milroe securing the starting spot heading into week one, the backup quarterback position has suddenly become the much more intriguing question.
Alabama Football QB2: Ty Simpson
Redshirt freshman Ty Simpson is the only other quarterback that has a year in the system with Alabama Football. He shared a locker room with Bryce Young for a season, and got very limited game reps as the third-team guy. For this reason, I believe Simpson enters the 2023 season as QB2.
However, Ty Simpson has had a very quiet offseason, which is slightly concerning to me. Entering his second year in the program, many were expecting Simpson to blow up. He came to Tuscaloosa in the class of 2022 with a 5-star pedigree, and he is believed to have the highest upside as a passer of any QB on the roster.
To be clear, there is no indication that Ty Simpson has struggled this offseason. In fact, he arguably outplayed Milroe in the spring game despite suffering a hand injury early in the scrimmage.
Simpson also reportedly played well in fall camp. However, he hasn’t come close to establishing himself as QB1 and separating from the pack, which many media members anticipated and considered the best case scenario for Alabama Football.
I’m not sure what Simpson’s role will be this season, but regardless, I think it’s important to remember that he’s still very young and has plenty of time to reach his potential. Going from high school to SEC Football is not always a seamless adjustment, especially at the quarterback position.
Alabama QB3: Tyler Buchner
Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner remains in the mix, and will always be a capable fallback for the Crimson Tide as its oldest and most experienced signal-caller. While all of Bama’s QBs can run, Buchner is probably the second-best athlete behind Milroe, who would likely be the fastest and most physically imposing QB in any room in the country.
Like Milroe, Buchner has had turnover issues at times, but he is also fairly young in terms of actual game experience. It is nearly impossible to predict what kind of opportunities he will get this fall, but Tyler Buchner gives the Alabama QB room an additional P5 starter, which can only be a good thing.
Alabama QB4: Dylan Lonergan
True freshman Dylan Lonergan has generated a lot of buzz this offseason. He flashed on A-Day, putting forth the most confident and efficient performance of Bama’s four quarterbacks at the time. Lonergan then proved it wasn’t a fluke during fall camp, becoming the hottest name in the QB room over the past few weeks.
Some would argue that Lonergan has passed Simpson and Buchner, and others are even calling for him to start. Factoring in experience, it’s difficult for me to put Lonergan any higher than QB4 at the moment, but it’s very promising that he has played so well. I expect fellow true freshman QB Eli Holstein to redshirt this season.
The QB competition for Alabama Football could extend well into the season, so it will be fascinating to see if more shuffling takes place.