When examining Alabama’s quarterback recruiting during the past 10 years, one theme stands out. The Crimson Tide hit on a quarterback in one signing class and the following quarterbacks in succeeding signing classes end up transferring elsewhere.
There have been breakout stars for Alabama including Greg McElroy and AJ McCarron, who helped lead the Tide to national titles. Conversely, players including Nick Fanuzzi and Parker McLeod didn’t see the field in Tuscaloosa.
SEC Country took a look back at the quarterbacks that Alabama has signed during the past 10 recruiting classes to equate a hit rate. Here are the results:
2006: Greg McElroy
McElroy patiently waited three years at Alabama behind John Parker Wilson before winning the starting quarterback job in 2009. He led the Crimson Tide to a national championship that season and, to this day, remains a beloved icon to Alabama fans. He finished his career with 5,691 passing yards and 39 touchdowns.
McElroy is fifth in school history in passing yards and fourth in touchdowns.
He’s now one of the best college football analysts ESPN employs.
2007: Nick Fanuzzi
Fanuzzi played in one game for Alabama as its third-string quarterback but didn’t record any stats. He ended up transferring to Rice, where he went on to become one of the school’s best passers. He threw for 4,402 yards and 29 touchdowns in his three seasons at Rice.
2008: Star Jackson
Jackson entered Alabama as the nation’s No. 8 pro-style passer in the Class of 2008, but like Fanuzzi, he ended up transferring. Jackson threw for 116 yards his freshman year at Alabama before transferring to Georgia State. He never played for Georgia State and ended up leaving the team.
2009: AJ McCarron
McCarron is statistically the best quarterback to wear an Alabama jersey. He holds school records with 9,019 passing yards and 77 touchdowns. His touchdown mark is 30 more than Wilson, who is second.
McCarron started for Alabama from 2011 to ’13 and was an integral part of the Tide’s championships in 2010, 2012 and 2013.
He is now the backup quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals.
2010: Phillip Sims, Blake Sims (recruited as an athlete)
Phillip Sims was a 5-star recruit and the nation’s No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2010, but it was Blake Sims, who wasn’t recruited to play quarterback for the Crimson Tide, who ultimately had the better career in Tuscaloosa.
Phillip Sims completed 18 passes in his Alabama career before transferring to Virginia, where he didn’t have much success, either. He had 9 touchdowns in 12 games for the Cavaliers before transferring again to Winston-Salem State.
Blake Sims was recruited to Alabama as an athlete. He saw some time at running back and at defensive back before coach Nick Saban decided to use him as a scout-team quarterback, where he excelled. He ended up being Alabama’s starting quarterback in 2014. The Tide ended up losing to Ohio State in the College Football Playoff semifinals that season.
2011: Phillip Ely
Ely didn’t record any stats while McCarron had a stranglehold on the starting quarterback job. He transferred from Alabama to Toledo in 2013, where he won the Rockets’ starting quarterback job. He threw for 2,965 yards and 23 touchdowns that season. He tore his right ACL early in the 2014 season, thus ending his college career.
2012: Alec Morris
Morris completed 1 pass in his Alabama career before transferring to North Texas in 2016. Morris played in six games for the Mean Green, scoring 9 touchdowns and throwing for 1,126 yards.
2013: Cooper Bateman, Parker McLeod
Bateman threw for 410 yards and 2 touchdowns before announcing his intention to transfer at the end of the 2016 season after losing the starting quarterback battle to Jalen Hurts. Bateman hasn’t announced where he’ll play next. McLeod never played a down for Alabama and ended up transferring to Western Kentucky. He walked on to Georgia’s team last fall.
2014: David Cornwell, Jacob Coker
Cornwell didn’t register any stats in his Alabama career. He announced he would transfer to Nevada earlier this month. Coker transferred from Florida State, where he left the Seminoles because he was Jameis Winston’s backup. He ended up starting for Alabama in 2015, when he helped lead the Tide to a national championship.
2015: Blake Barnett
Barnett started for Alabama in the 2016 season but lost his job during the first game, when Jalen Hurts took over and never relinquished the job. During the middle of the season, Barnett announced his intention to transfer to Arizona State.
2016: Jalen Hurts
Hurts was a freshman sensation for Alabama, setting a record with 36 total touchdowns in a season. That broke Blake Sims’ previous mark of 35. Hurts also was 103 yards short of breaking Sims’ record of total offense (3,837 yards).
Though Hurts struggled at times last season, it should be expected because he’s a true freshman. If he continues on this path, Hurts likely will shatter the records set by McCarron.
The Hit Rate: 35.7 percent
The main point when evaluating Alabama’s quarterback signees during the past 10 years is once a signal caller wins the job, he rarely loses it. That, in turn, causes other quarterbacks on the roster to transfer from the program. Out of the 14 quarterbacks the team has signed during the past 10 seasons, nine of them ended or will end their college careers outside of Tuscaloosa.
That’s not necessarily an Alabama problem. That’s more of a college football problem. More and more quarterbacks are transferring to schools when they don’t win the starting quarterback job.
The quarterbacks Saban has kept around in Tuscaloosa (McElroy, McCarron, Sims, Coker and Hurts) all have won national championships or SEC championships.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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