Where Alabama’s quarterback group stands before spring practice

Alabama football’s offense is going to look different this season. Kalen DeBoer has replaced the retired Nick Saban as head coach, and he’s bringing his offensive prowess with him to Tuscaloosa.
The move could be a boon for Alabama’s quarterbacks. DeBoer helped turn Washington signal-caller Michael Penix Jr. into a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, on the way to a national title appearance.
As spring football, which will be capped off by the April 13 A-Day game, approaches, here’s a look at the names in the Crimson Tide’s quarterback room.
Jalen Milroe
Alabama’s starter made it clear as soon as DeBoer was hired that he was coming back. He’ll likely enter the 2024 season in a very different place than he did the 2023 campaign.
Milroe competed with Ty Simpson and Tyler Buchner for the starting job last season, struggling early on and losing the gig against South Florida. Then, he turned it all around.
His deep-passing talent and ability to run when needed was a huge element in Alabama’s College Football Playoff run. He finished the year with 2,834 passing yards and 23 touchdowns through the air, along with another 531 rushing yards and 12 scores on the ground.
By the end of the season, Milroe garnered Heisman Trophy votes. In the high-powered offense that DeBoer is known for, he could very well find himself in New York as a finalist.
In January, at a football camp he put on for local children, Milroe praised how Alabama’s new coach was relating to the players.
“It’s been great,” the quarterback said. “It’s been great to have him here with the transition, but that’s been big, to have him here with all that he’s done. He’s very personable and he’s bringing good energy to the locker room so we’re all excited to have him here.”
Ty Simpson
The redshirt sophomore battled with Milroe during preseason camp last season for the starting job. Eventually he got a chance to play in the second half of Alabama’s matchup at USF, before Milroe took over the quarterback job full time.
Out of Alabama’s backups last season, the former five-star recruit played the best when given opportunities. He threw for 179 yards throughout the season.
“I feel like I’ve gained a lot of experience, but also grown a lot,” Simpson told AL.com ahead of Alabama’s appearance in the Rose Bowl. “I feel like I’m a night and day different player. I feel like the team has confidence in me if I have to go in and I feel like the coaches have confidence in me. I’m really excited about my future, my growth.”
At the time, Simpson said he hadn’t decided whether or not he was going to transfer in search of playing time. After the season, he opted to stick around, even through the coaching transition.
Dylan Lonergan
Lonergan made waves with a successful preseason camp last season. He didn’t see any playing time, but earned high marks from Alabama’s coaches before the season.
“He’s done really well,” Saban said of Lonergan in August. “He’s shown great ability, great potential. I think that the thing that he needs is experience.”
He was a four-star prospect in the class of 2023. He was also a baseball recruit and had planned on playing both sports for the Crimson Tide, though baseball coach Rob Vaughn said he was focusing on football through the coaching transition.
Lonergan will be a redshirt freshman in 2024.
Austin Mack
The new man in the group followed DeBoer to Tuscaloosa from Washington. He had reclassified as a recruit to join the Huskies in the class of 2023.
After the transfer, DeBoer had high praise for Mack, who will have four full years of eligibility for the Tide.
“I think his skillset and all the tools he brings as a quarterback, the arm talent,” DeBoer said in Mobile after a Senior Bowl practice. “But I also just think he’s just got a really great head on his shoulders.He’s young and for him to do what he did with us this last year, he reclassified and really learned the offense as fast as anyone I’ve ever seen at that age.”
Mack might not be the man for the Crimson Tide this season. However, should Milroe have a successful season and opt to move on to the next level, he could be the future of the position at Alabama.

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