A shift has occurred at the quarterback position for Alabama going into 2021. For years, the phrase “won championships” has been the literal translation of how dominant Alabama has been on the defensive side of the ball. However, there was a huge switch in the level of intensity on the offensive side of the ball after the 2015 season when Derrick Henry won the Heisman Trophy and helped Alabama win its 16th National Championship. In 2016, the Crimson Tide started to focus their playstyle on the quarterback position with true freshman Jalen Hurts. In his first year with Alabama, Hurts, and offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin turned the Tide’s offense into the 16th best scoring offense (38.8 points per game) in college football. The following season, the emergence of true freshman Tua Tagovailoa built on what Hurts started.
Tagovailoa helped Alabama get to the playoffs twice. He also helped the Tide win the 2018 CFB Playoff National Championship. After Tagovailoa’s departure to the NFL, Mac Jones, who started four games in 2019, took over. Despite serious doubts regarding his abilities, Jones became one of the most explosive and consistent quarterbacks in the nation. Jones and Heisman Trophy-winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith dominated their way to Alabama’s 18th National Championship in program history.
Alabama Quarterback Outlook: Bryce Young Destined To Start in 2021?
This upcoming season, it looks like there isn’t much of a debate on who the next man up is for Alabama. The Alabama quarterback outlook starts with Bryce Young. Young is a former five-star recruit and sophomore, is presumably the next quarterback for the Crimson Tide in 2021 after playing seldomly under Jones this past season. While he doesn’t have the experience that Jones or Tagovailoa had after taking over as the full-time quarterback, there is no doubt that he is capable. Here is the Alabama quarterback outlook going into the 2021 offseason.
Bryce Young (So.) – The Starter
Much like Tagovailoa, Young came into the Alabama program as a highly touted future starting quarterback. Young was the second-highest graded recruit in the 2020 Recruiting Class only behind Clemson defensive tackle Bryan Bresee. He was also the 20th highest graded recruit by 247 Sports. His playing ability draws comparison to Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson. Both are incredible athletes, elusive runners, dynamic passers, and fast and alert. While backing up Jones this past season, Young was patient. In 2020, Young threw for 156 yards, one touchdown, and had a quarterback rating of 133.7 on 13 completions. He only had nine incompletions as he threw for a completion percentage of 59.1%. He often played in garbage time with either a tired first-team offensive line or an inexperienced second-team offensive line.
It is tough to see what his best attributes are as a quarterback. He has great arm mechanics. Further, he can throw the ball deep consistently like Tagovailoa. Young’s athleticism as a running quarterback and throwing while scrambling matches the same ability as Hurts. Finally, Young has a high football IQ. The sophomore can breakdown significant defensive schemes and coverages like Jones. He is a versatile and unique quarterback that checks a lot of the boxes. While he has a smaller frame and body size, he is a quarterback that can pick apart defenses.
There should be no doubt that he can succeed for the Crimson Tide’s offense. Under Bill O’Brien, who has worked with dynamic dual-threat quarterback Deshaun Watson, Young should find himself comfortable working under an offense that expects the most from him. If there is a quarterback to continue Alabama’s elite offensive systems, it will likely be Young.
Paul Tyson (rSo.) – The Backup
Even though Young is presumed to be the starting quarterback for Alabama in 2021, there needs to be a system of solid quarterbacks ready to go. Paul Tyson enters into his third season with the Tide but this time as the likely backup quarterback. He has only played in one game in his career, but he has not shown any resentment against his role. He is a former four-star recruit and the 12th ranked Pro-Style quarterback in the 2019 Recruiting class. Tyson has solid arm strength and has the capability to throw accurately on the run into tight windows. He has enough talent to develop himself and start for another team but he chooses to stay with the Tide. It does help that he is the grandson of six-time National Championship-winning head coach and Alabama legend Paul “Bear” Bryant. If something happens to Young, Tyson is more than ready to go.
Jalen Milroe (Fr.) – The Next Prodigy
Alabama had the highest-rated recruiting class of all-time this year. While there are several five-stars Tide Nation is excited for, they are equally excited for the potential of Jalen Milroe. As a four-star recruit, Milroe is the fourth-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the 2021 Recruiting class. Milroe comes in at six-foot-three-inches and 206 pounds which is unique for a mobile quarterback. While he doesn’t have the zip to his throws as the other Tide quarterbacks, he can throw the ball deep consistently. He has a great passing vision to let his receiver progress in his routes and has great pocket awareness. Milroe has breakout speed and is elusive in his runs. There is potential for Milroe to play this 2021 season in special packages under O’Brien. He will be a special project for the Tide to develop for the future of their designed explosive and dynamic offense.
Alabama Quarterback Outlook: The Rest of the Pack
There are three other players at quarterback on the roster for Alabama going into the spring 2021 season. Braxton Barker (rJr.), Jayden George (rSo.), and Stone Hollenbach (rSo.) all finish out the quarterback roster on the team. Braxton is the son of former Alabama quarterback and 1994 Heisman Trophy finalist Jay Barker. He is also the only quarterback on Alabama’s roster, other Tyson, who is from the state of Alabama. Hollenbach is the only quarterback of the three to be graded by 247Sports as he is a two-star recruit in the 2019 Recruiting class.