Jalen Milroe will start at quarterback for Alabama in Saturday’s season opener against Middle Tennessee, sources told ESPN on Friday.
Milroe, a redshirt sophomore, had been competing for the job this preseason along with Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner, redshirt freshmen Ty Simpson and true freshman Dylan Lonergan.
Milroe started for the injured Bryce Young in a victory against Texas A&M last season, finishing 12-of-19 for 111 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 81 yards but committed three turnovers.
While Milroe took most of the first-team repetitions among Alabama quarterbacks this preseason, sources told ESPN that he’s not necessarily locked in as the starter for the entire season.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder is one of the team’s most dynamic players and he has an extremely strong arm. One of his priorities this offseason was becoming a more accurate passer.
The Crimson Tide brought in Buchner as a transfer following spring practice in April. He played under first-year Alabama offensive coordinator Tommy Rees at Notre Dame and entered the 2022 season as the Irish starter before injuring a shoulder in Week 2 and missing the remainder of the regular season.
Milroe and Simpson chose to stay at Alabama to compete for the job instead of transferring elsewhere. Milroe made a lot of headway this summer and preseason at winning over the locker room with his work ethic and leadership, sources told ESPN. He was the No. 112-ranked prospect in the ESPN 300 coming out of high school in Katy, Texas.
Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN this summer that he wasn’t in a rush to name a starter and wanted to see how the preseason played out before making a decision.
Lonergan, from Snellville, Georgia, might be the best pure passer of the bunch. He impressed with his accuracy this preseason but needs some experience to be ready to play.
Young, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft, was the fourth straight future NFL starter to play quarterback at Alabama, following Mac Jones, Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts. Jones and Tagovailoa were both first-round draft picks, and Hurts was a second-rounder.