Alabama has a massive hole to fill under center with Bryce Young’s imminent departure to the NFL, but Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban won’t be short on options. With fill-in 2022 starter dual-threat Jalen Milroe and red-shirt freshman Ty Simpson already in the room, and the No. 9 and No. 11 quarterbacks in the Class of 2023, Eli Holstein and Dylan Lonergan, making their way this spring, whoever Saban decides is the deserving starter will have most certainly earned it.
Milroe has the most experience in the Crimson Tide offense in real-game situations, having stepped into Young’s shoes as Alabama’s QB1 during their 49-26 road victory over Arkansas on October 1 and leading the Tide from the get-go in a 24-20 home win over Texas A&M on October 8. Simpson, on the other hand, completed four of his five attempts during the 2022 season — mostly throwing in the flat in garbage-time minutes against the likes of Utah State, Vanderbilt and Austin Peay.
While the two incoming freshman are behind in reps, they plan to make up as much ground as possible. Holstein has already practiced with the team ahead of their 45-20 Sugar Bowl win over Kansas State. Lonergan will be practicing before the spring A-Day game. Both will be hoping they can follow in the footsteps of current Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who earned the starting job his freshman season.
Nick Saban on His 2 Incoming Freshman
Saban surely loves the commitment his two incoming freshman, Holstein and Lonergan, are showing by trying to get on campus as soon as they possibly can. During an Early National Signing Day press conference, Saban doted over both of his incoming 4-star signal-callers for their dedication to sticking around and improving instead of opting for the transfer portal.
“We’re obviously happy with both guys,” Saban said. “They’ve both been in successful programs. We know a lot about them. They’re great people. I think they have really good potential. I think with this day and age you really want to make sure when you know basically guys to leave your team whenever they want that you have enough guys at each position and that they want to be the kind of guys that want to develop at that position. So I think both of these guys are very much committed to that.”
Ultimately, Saban sees both as ideal system fits. “So I mean, other than that, they’re the kind of guys that we want and I think they fit the profile of what we need at the position.”
Jalen Milroe Talks How to Win Starting Role in 2023
It’s an uphill battle for Milroe to clinch the starting spot in 2023 after serving as Young’s primary backup in 2022. That’s not something that’s lost on the Katy, Texas, native, and he stressed to AL.com following Alabama’s December 31 Sugar Bowl win that he knows he must improve to stay at the top of the depth chart.
His goal over the offseason was to constantly up his game and figure out what kind of leader he would be in the Crimson Tide offense. “Overall, just get 1% better each and every day,” Milroe said. “Just collab with the team, find our identity, come together as a team and just build on each day we have together.”
Milroe is handing his fate to a higher power. “Everything is God’s plan,” Milroe said. “God’s plan.”