2024 and Beyond: Alabama’s Quarterback Situation

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - SEPTEMBER 23: Jalen Milroe #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks to pass against the Mississippi Rebels during the second quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 23, 2023 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - SEPTEMBER 23: Jalen Milroe #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks to pass against the Mississippi Rebels during the second quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 23, 2023 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

With the confidence and performance of Jalen Milroe clearly on display for all to see the later the season gets in 2023, one can only speculate that he’ll return to Tuscaloosa as the starting quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2024.

After a rough start to the season, the Katy, Texas native and ESPN Class of 2021 four-star recruit has now thrown for 1,836 yards with thirteen touchdowns and five interceptions on the season. Milroe has ran for another 297 yards with nine rushing touchdowns on the season as well.

With these numbers and solidifying himself as the starting quarterback in 2024, that begs the question for the starting quarterback sequence behind him for 2025 and beyond.

Here are the quarterbacks currently on the depth chart behind Milroe, and my projections for them over the next few years:

What is Alabama’s quarterback situation in 2024 and beyond?

Tyler Buchner – The redshirt sophomore followed Tommy Rees to Tuscaloosa this off season and disappointed in his showing against USF finishing 5-of-14 for 34 yards before being pulled for third-string quarterback Ty Simpson. Tide fans were already skeptical on Buchner after his injury laden time at Notre Dame and in high school before that. After disappointing against USF, Buchner hasn’t seen the field again. Furthermore, it seems Simpson has taken over the number two spot. Although Buchner won’t factor much into the Tide’s plans in 2024, look for him to try to transfer as soon as he’s academically eligible using his graduate transfer.

Ty Simpson – The former four-star and thirty fourth overall rated recruit on the ESPN 300 for the class of 2022 is one year behind starting quarterback Jalen Milroe experience-wise and time on campus. Simpson came in in relief of Buchner against USF leading the Tide to a slim victory. His numbers were a bit more impressive than Buchner’s in the game completing 5-of-9 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. This could put Simpson as next in line to take the reins in 2025 after Milroe graduates. Sitting the bench for another few seasons may be the best thing for Simpson to gain experience.

Dylan Lonergan – Lonergan competed with fellow freshman Eli Holstein this past spring and fall for the top freshman quarterback position on the depth chart and appears to have edged him out for now. However, these two have a few years before a chance at seeing the field as the Tide’s starting quarterback. So that could change very quickly. Early in the season when Milroe was struggling, reports were that Lonergan was coming on in practice, so look for him to make a strong push in the future. For now, the class of 2023 four-star recruit and 36th ESPN300 recruit will sit and learn until his opportunity arises. The hope for Tide fans is that Lonergan doesn’t get ancy and transfer somewhere beforehand. Look for Lonergan to take the reins as starting quarterback for the Tide in 2026.

Eli Holstein – The class of 2023 recruit was rated 29th in the class and is in competition with Dylan Lonergan for the top quarterback spot in the 2023 class on the Alabama roster. Like Lonergan, time will tell between the two who separates and eventually earns the first chance as the Tide’s starting quarterback. These things have a way of weeding themselves out though – whether it be someone transferring, changing positions, etc. So for now, the Tide welcomes the depth at the quarterback position. Look for Holstein to get his chance as starting quarterback for the Tide in 2027 if he waits his turn. This would include a redshirt and staying on campus for five years.

Julian Sayin – Sayin isn’t even on campus yet, and he’s already getting massive buzz as the next big thing in Tuscaloosa. Sayin is currently rated as the number three overall prospect and top quarterback for the ESPN 300 class of 2024. If Sayin stays committed through national signing day, this would be one of the highest rated quarterback commitments to-date for the Tide under Saban. While his play at the collegiate level has yet to be seen, if it goes as expected it could really throw a wrench into future quarterback starting projections for those quarterbacks already on the Tide roster. Does Sayin leap frog Holstein and Lonergan? Does he even leap frog Simpson and set himself up for the starting job in 2025 after Milroe graduates? These are all things yet to be determined. If this does happen, it would be a strong bet that at least a few would transfer.

It seems it’s going to be a waiting game for all backup quarterbacks at Alabama, as it was for Milroe who was named the team’s starting quarterback for the first time this season in his junior year. AJ McCarron, Greg McElroy, Mac Jones and Blake Sims are previous quarterbacks under Saban who saw a similar path. It worked out well for all that excelled as starting quarterbacks for the Tide. National championships and broken records were among the many accolades for this bunch.

So sitting the bench for Simpson, Holstein and Lonergan as far as Alabama recruits go has never been a bad thing for the Tide or those quarterbacks that decide to stay and wait their turn. This ability of head coach Nick Saban to be able to keep coaching these quarterbacks up before having to throw them into the fire is large in part thanks to the improvement of Milroe throughout this season. Not only has it taken the heat off of Saban and the team this year, but it’s setting them up for experienced and better quarterback play in the future.

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