Sources – Jalen Milroe will start at QB in Alabama’s opener

Chris LowSenior writer at ESPNSeptember 1, 2023 at 12:40 PM ET2 min read

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, was competing for the job this preseason alongside Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buechner, redshirt junior Ty Simpson and true freshman Dylan Lonergan.

Milroe started for an injured Bryce Young in a win over 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 has taken the most first-team reps among Alabama’s quarterbacks this preseason, sources told ESPN he doesn’t necessarily have to be a starter for the entire season.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior is one of the team’s most dynamic players and has a very strong arm. One of his priorities this season was to become a more accurate passer.

The Crimson Tide brought in Buchner as a transfer after spring practice in April. He played under first-year Alabama offensive coordinator Tommy Reese at Notre Dame and entered the 2022 season as the Irish’s starting starter before suffering a shoulder injury in Week 2 and missing the rest of the regular season.

Melroe and Simpson chose to remain at Alabama to compete for the job rather than move elsewhere. Sources told ESPN that Milroe has made a lot of progress this summer and preseason in winning over the locker room with his work ethic and leadership. He was the No. 112 prospect in the ESPN 300 coming out of high school in Katy, Texas.

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Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN this summer that he was in no rush to name a starter and wanted to see how things went before the season before making a decision.

Lonergan, from Snellville, Georgia, may be the best passer of the bunch. He has impressed with his accuracy this pre-season but needs some experience to be ready to play.

Young, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, was the fourth consecutive future NFL starter to play quarterback at Alabama, following Mac Jones, Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts. Jones and Tagovailoa were both first-round picks, and Hurts was second.

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