Alabama Crimson Tide 2023 Big Board: Quarterbacks
The University of Alabama is not looked upon as a school where quarterbacks go to become 'game-mangers'. Three former Crimson Tide quarterbacks are currently starters in the NFL- Mac Jones (New England), Tua Tagovailoa (Miami) and Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia). Jones and Tua were Heisman finalists during their career at Alabama. Hurts won the SEC Offensive Player of the Year as a true freshman. He was also a Heisman finalist after transferring to Oklahoma.
Bryce Young became the Tide's fourth Heisman winner (all during the Nick Saban era), and the first quarterback from Alabama after his sensational 2021 season. Top quarterbacks, from across the country, have noticed the amount of talent churned out at the position in recent years despite the turnover at offensive coordinator.
Alabama may also have a new offensive coordinator if Bill O'Brien is offered a head coach position in the NFL. The Tide hasn't skipped a beat after replacing Lane Kiffin, Mike Locksley, Brian Daboll or Steve Sarkisan as its offensive coordinators. It's hard to imagine much will change if or when the next OC replaces Coach O'Brien.
Bryce Young will return for his junior season this fall, but many expect this as his final year (if all goes according to plan) before he enters the NFL draft. Alabama signed two Rivals100 quarterbacks in the last two recruiting classes in Jalen Milroe (2021) and Ty Simpson (2022). Alabama will recruit the best players in the country in each recruiting class including quarterback.
Alabama wants to sign an elite quarterback in the 2023 class. That player will have the same opportunity to earn the starting role the following year if Young decides to declare for the NFL. The competition is wide open.
The race for Arch Manning will really start to ramp up this spring and summer as the top recruit in the country continues his evaluation of top schools. It's clear some of the top schools in the mix include Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ole Miss and Texas.
Manning's father, Cooper, has kept his son out of the limelight for the majority of his recruitment. He understands the amount of pressure on his son, who is also the nephew of Peyton and Eli, and grandfather Archie, will have on his entire career.
"I think, honestly, every place that Arch gets to visit he's gonna really enjoy," Cooper told Rivals this fall. "We're gonna really get to enjoy as a family. These are all great options, and he's in a fortunate situation to be going to look at places that are super attractive as a student or an athlete."
Arch spoke briefly with Orangebloods.com this past fall regarding the schools of interest and what he is seeking when it comes to making a decision.
“The people matter and wherever you want to be, you want to be surrounded by good people,” Manning said. “So, I'm just glad I’ve got to build some relationships.
"You want to be surrounded by good people and somewhere you want to be for four years. I think it's not all about football, but I mean I guess that's a big piece. But like, you just want to be somewhere that feels like home, and I’m excited that I get to look at all these great schools.”
Will we see additional schools enter the mix? New Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby will certainly pursue Manning after departing from Ole Miss.
Manning has visited the schools mentioned multiple times since June. Each school has young talent at the position who were highly recruited coming out of high school. Manning isn't afraid of competition and each school will do its best sales job while attempting to land the No. 1 quarterback.
Manning passed for more than 2,000 yards with a 26 touchdowns and four interceptions during the 2021 season. He also rushed for 365 yards and eight touchdowns. He has 101 total touchdowns in his three seasons of high school ball.
Alabama has also expressed heavy interest in Nico Iamaleava after he participated in the Tide's camp in June where he earned an offer from Coach Saban after his performance. He flew back to Alabama in November (vs. Arkansas) to attend his first game in Tuscaloosa.
“I knew what to expect going in on my visit to ‘Bama," Iamaleava told Rivals. "Seeing it live from Bryce (Young), watching him in high school and seeing the things he did at Mater Dei and taking it to college was a huge step especially in the SEC. It was great to experience that. The hospitality I got treated with at ‘Bama was great and the fans are great over there and the coaches.”
He had a fantastic junior season with 2,244 passing yards and 33 touchdowns with only one interception. Iamaleava transferred from Long Beach Poly to Warren High School prior to the start of his junior season. He is also a standout volleyball player. His older brother, Matt, is on the volleyball team at Long Beach State.
Iamaleava has a top 12 of Alabama, Auburn, BYU, Georgia, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Oregon State, Tennessee and UCLA.
Holstein made a strong impression when he threw for the Alabama staff in mid-June. He earned an offer from Coach Saban after his performance. Holstein had glowing remarks regarding his summer visits with the Crimson Tide where he was also joined by his family.
"They loved it," Holstein said of his families experience in Tuscaloosa. "They really looked at it from a parents’l perspective and what all they had to offer off-the-field for me as a person. My little sister enjoyed it probably the most because they treated her like a princess the entire time we were there. That means a lot to me and my family.
"What impressed me is what all the different stuff they have for athletes to help them be the best they can be. I really like the sports medicine and sports science part. I got to see all of the stuff that goes into training the players, their recovery and all the stuff they are doing to help the athletes. It was great to see that."
He expressed a lot of interest in Alabama after the visit, but he committed to Texas A&M a few weeks later. Holstein has appeared solid with his commitment to the Aggies especially after the win against Alabama in College Station. He did, however, return to Tuscaloosa in November for the Tide's game against LSU.
Holstein has not indicated his commitment is on the fritz, but Alabama will likely continue to stay in contact. The last two starting quarterbacks for Alabama (Mac Jones, Bryce Young) were also once committed elsewhere.
He helped his team to a state championship this past season after passing for 3,264 yards with 29 touchdowns. Holstein also had 515 yards rushing with 14 touchdowns on the ground.
Lonergan released a top 12 in August after participating in several summer camps: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State and South Carolina. He managed to visit Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, South Carolina and Stanford during the fall.
Lonergan received an offer from Alabama last spring before participating in the Nick Saban Football Camp in June. Alabama has continued with its interest in the Peach State product and will likely get him back in Tuscaloosa this spring.
He also had a terrific season on the gridiron completing 234-of-371 passing attempts for 3,392 yards with 32 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He rushed for 645 yards and seven additional scores.
Lonergan is also considered one of the best baseball players in the Southeast. He has a 90 mph fastball and looking for the best opportunity to play both sports in college.
Arnold is the only new name added to the list since the summer. He received an offer from Alabama in late November. He had an impressive junior campaign with 3,931 passing yards and 34 touchdowns with only five interceptions.
He has yet to reveal any favorites, but some of the top schools that have been mentioned include Notre Dame, TCU and Ole Miss. He will take an unofficial visit to Oklahoma this weekend where he already has a good relationship with new offensive coordinator, Jeff Lebby.
Arnold was named the Dallas Morning News Offensive Player of the Year. He has reeled in 22 offers with the likes of Arkansas, Baylor, Cincinnati, LSU, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Penn State, Stanford and TCU in addition to Alabama.
"In a balanced attack, Arnold is a quick and calculated decision-maker," Rivals recruiting analyst Sam Spiegelman said after an in-person evaluation in September. "He maintains a strong presence in the pocket and gets the ball off promptly and can thread the needle when needed to. Arnold is mobile and can extend and create plays with his legs, which he did in the red zone. He's also a talented, accurate deep-ball passer, and will rank among the top signal-callers from Texas for the 2023 class.”