Following his benching ahead of Alabama’s game against USF, and subsequent non-appearance as the Alabama Crimson Tide offense floundered against the Bulls, there has been much speculation about Jalen Milroe and his future in Tuscaloosa. While he’ll start against Ole Miss this coming Saturday, is Milroe the long-term solution at quarterback for the Crimson Tide?
Nick Saban Names Jalen Milroe Alabama’s Starter for Ole Miss, Beyond
During his media briefing ahead of a crucial clash with Ole Miss Saturday, Alabama head coach Nick Saban announced that Milroe will start under center for the Crimson Tide, putting to bed what had become one of the most interesting quarterback controversies in college football.
“Jalen really showed the leadership that I was looking for during the game,” Saban said, referring to Milroe supporting from the sidelines following his demotion to the bench for Alabama’s game against the USF Bulls in Week 3.
“He’s had the opportunity to play and so have the other guys,” Saban continued. “Jalen played the best of all those guys and so I think he’s earned the opportunity to be the quarterback.”
Coming just two days after saying he’d evaluate all the QBs and decide on the starter, it appears the decision to start Milroe against Ole Miss was an easy one for coach Saban. However, it’s just the latest chapter in a lack of certainty at quarterback for the Crimson Tide that has been ongoing since the spring.
Jalen Milroe Landing Spots if He Enters the Transfer Portal
Milroe waited patiently for two years for his opportunity as the Alabama starting quarterback. When called upon following an injury to Bryce Young last season, he performed well enough.
Yet, after the defeat against Texas in Week 2 — and the subsequent alleged internal reaction to it — he was replaced as the starter for the USF game by former Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner.
When that move failed to fire up the Crimson Tide offense, Saban didn’t turn to the ousted starter. Instead, he replaced Buchner with Ty Simpson, a five-star prospect in the 2022 recruiting class who saw action in the season opener against Middle Tennessee, rushing for a one-yard touchdown in a comprehensive win over the Blue Raiders.
Although Milroe was seen on the sidelines supporting his teammates — including Simpson, who ultimately guided Alabama to an unconvincing win over their Group of Five opponent — his demotion to the bench and the circumstances surrounding it have raised questions about his long-term future in Tuscaloosa, despite earning his job back for the Ole Miss game.
With Dylan Lonergan waiting in the wings, where will Milroe play in the 2024 college football season? The former four-star recruit and fourth-ranked dual-threat certainly has a skill set that, if used correctly, could make him an explosive college weapon for the right offense.
These Milroe landing spots seek to find the perfect offense to maximize his talents.
Former Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham had over 600 career rushing attempts, racking up 3,182 rushing yards and 50 rushing touchdowns while averaging 5.1 yards per carry in his Cardinals career. His head coach during that time was Scott Satterfield.
What has that got to do with anything? Well, Satterfield is now the head coach of the Cincinnati Bearcats.
Imagine Milroe getting over 100 carries per season from the quarterback position. It would be devastating for any defense they face in the Big 12.
Satterfield has already given Emory Jones over 10 carries per game since taking over, and the former Florida and Arizona State quarterback is in the best form of his career. Milroe would be a logical replacement with more upside.
Tennessee already has their quarterback of the future safely tucked under their wing in the shape of Nico Iamaleava. In fact, there was a train of thought that he may challenge Joe Milton for starting reps in 2023.
Although that presents an issue as a logical transfer portal landing spot for Milroe, it shouldn’t be used to completely rule them out as a legitimate and logical option.
The Vols have been a career transformer for portal QBs, with Milton succeeding former Virginia Tech quarterback Hendon Hooker as the starter for 2023. The offense the Vols run allows for plenty of opportunity for Milroe to use his considerable athletic talents for maximum devastation.
Having a former Alabama player in the Vols locker room would be handy, too.
Duke Blue Devils
With Riley Leonard looking exceedingly likely to head to the 2024 NFL Draft as he continues to attract national attention, the Duke Blue Devils could use a (relatively) experienced hand to help smooth the transition while continuing their current trajectory as one of the best teams in the ACC under head coach Mike Elko and offensive coordinator Kevin Johns.
Since the duo arrived at the program, quarterback Leonard has 149 carries for 907 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns. Milroe might not be as polished as a passer, but he’s more dangerous on the move and still boasts the arm talent to drive the ball to the deep third.
Duke has four rostered quarterbacks, with two true freshmen and Henry Melvin IV behind Leonard.
While we’ve demonstrated opportunities to play elsewhere at the Power Five level, Milroe may find himself with a Group of Five program. Several teams would make a nice fit playing across those five conferences, like Georgia State, who have seen great success behind true dual-threat Darren Grainger early in this 2023 college football season.
However, there would be something truly poetic about Milroe lining up for a USF team that features so prominently in the story of his Alabama career.
It’s not just a good story; it’s a great fit. Incumbent QB Byron Brown has more rushing carries than all but three running backs so far this year. Milroe would be a weapon for the Alex Golesh-led Bulls in 2024.