These are the 5 best quarterbacks Alabama football will face in 2023

By Matt Stahl |
Alabama football’s quarterback battle isn’t settled yet. That’s been covered ad nauseam in Tuscaloosa.
Before Nick Saban sends up a puff of white smoke, takes the cake out of the oven or whichever illustration you’d prefer for choosing between Jalen Milroe, Ty Simpson and Tyler Buchner, there’s other things to talk about. Namely, the other quarterbacks that the Crimson Tide will face this season.
KJ Jefferson– Arkansas
Before Missouri played its rivalry game against Arkansas last season, Tigers head coach Eli Drinkwitz said he hoped Jefferson moved on to the NFL and didn’t play any more college ball.
No such luck for the SEC.
Jefferson returned for his fifth season of eligibility and looks poised to be one of the league’s top quarterbacks, especially with running back Rocket Sanders back as well. He was preseason All-SEC second team as voted by both coaches and media, and is one several watch lists for top quarterback in the nation for 2023.
Last season, despite missing two games due to injury, Jefferson threw for 2,648 yards and 24 touchdowns, against just five interceptions. He also made a huge contribution on the ground, going for 640 yards and nine touchdowns that way.
Jefferson has a reputation for being tough to bring down and can frustrate defenses with both is arm and legs. Alabama was mostly able to limit him last season, but with another year of experience, the Mississippi native could make for a difficult matchup.
Jayden Daniels– LSU
Before last season, the LSU quarterback job looked up for grabs, with Daniels, who transferred in from Arizona State, just one of the candidates. After the Tigers won the SEC West, it’s all Daniels.
Obviously, Daniels caused huge problems for Alabama during LSU’s win in Baton Rouge last season. He was named the SEC’s offensive player of the week for his efforts, which included completing 22 of his 32 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns while adding another 95 yards and another score on the ground.
This year’s matchup with LSU will be at Bryant-Denny Stadium, which is good news for the Crimson Tide. Still, stopping Daniels won’t be easy.
He’ll be in his fifth season as a college quarterback and, according to LSU’s website, has put on 20 pounds during the offseason. He’s still a duel-threat, with 2,913 passing yards and 17 touchdowns las season, along with 885 yards rushing and another 11 scores.
Daniels will be one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the SEC, with only Bo Nix at Oregon and Sam Hartman at Notre Dame having more career starts across FBS football.
Devin Leary– Kentucky
Unlike Daniels and Jeffererson, Leary is a newcomer to the SEC. He transferred to Kentucky from NC State during the offseason.
He’ll be aided in his transition to Lexington by a few factors. First, Lian Cohen is back as the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator, returning from a one-year stint in the NFL.
Cohen was instrumental in the development of Will Levis once he transferred to Kentucky, and the UK offense had noticeable struggles without him last season. One that will need to be fixed if Leary is to be successful is the offensive line, which resembled a turnstile in 2022.
Leary was likely the top quarterback in the transfer portal this past offseason after a successful career at NC State. He threw for 6,807 yards throughout his career with the Wolfpack, going 17-9 as the starting quarterback.
Last season, Leary played in just six games before a shoulder injury ended his season against Florida State. Before that, he had 1,265 passing yards with 11 touchdowns.
Will Rogers– Mississippi State
Mississippi State’s offense is in a state of flux entering the 2023 season. After the death of Mike Leach, Zach Arnett took over as the team’s head coach.
As a defensive-minded leader, Arnett is moving the Bulldogs away from the uncut air raid attack of his predecessor. Mississippi State will run the ball more this season.
How that will impact Rogers is yet to be seen. The now-senior has been thriving for the past few seasons in Leach’s system.
Rogers is likely good enough to adapt, and the college football world believes in him to some extent, as he made the Maxwell Award watchlist and All-SEC third team. He threw for 3,713 yards and 35 touchdowns for MSU last season.
While Alabama will likely be favored against Mississippi State come Sept. 30, the Crimson Tide will have to deal with a new scheme. If things fall his way, Rogers has the arm to give UA trouble.
Quinn Ewers– Texas
Texas has one of the more scrutinized quarterback rooms in college football entering the 2023 season. Not only is Ewers back for a second season in Austin, the Longhorns also have true freshman Arch Manning, nephew of Peyton and Eli, grandson of Archie, on the roster.
Manning is expected to sit for this season before seriously challenging for the job in 2024. But for now, it’s Ewers’ time to shine.
The former five-star recruit looked excellent at times last season. He threw for 2,177 yards with 15 touchdowns.
In 2023, Ewers will be expected to show his full potential, both with Manning behind him and with the Longhorns looking for one last Big 12 title before they head to the SEC in 2024. Texas will face Alabama the second week of the season.
In last year’s matchup, Ewers looked to have a real chance to lead UT to victory in Austin. Unfortunately for both himself and the Longhorns, he went out with an injury after completing nine of his 12 pass attempts for 134 yards.
If Ewers can take the next step in his development and stay healthy, he could give UT chance to knock off the Tide in the rematch.

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