NCAA Football: Alabama Spring Game

Alabama coach Nick Saban said that "we felt like we needed to add some competition in the room" after Notre Dame transfer quarterback Tyler Buchner committed to the Crimson Tide on Thursday. With former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young departed after three seasons with the program, Saban and first-year offensive coordinator Tommy Rees are tasked with breaking in a new starting QB in the 2023 season. 

"Tyler was certainly a guy that was gonna be the starter last year at Notre Dame, got injured, played in the bowl game, played really well," Saban said on ESPN's College GameDay ahead of the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday. "So we thought he would add a lot of competition, and we think he's got the right kind of character and attitude to be a positive influence on our team."

Buchner emerged as an obvious candidate to join the battle for the starting job along with Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson after he entered the transfer portal on Tuesday. Rees was Notre Dame's offensive coordinator during the first two years of Buchner's college career with the Fighting Irish, so Buchner will has familiarity with Rees' offensive scheme. 

A former four-star prospect from the Class of 2021, Buchner won the starting job to begin the 2022 season at Notre Dame before a shoulder injury knocked him out him out for several months. He did not return until the Fighting Irish's 45-38 loss to South Carolina in the Gator Bowl. Over 13 appearances in two seasons, Buchner has completed 67 of 118 passes for 949 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Milroe and Simpson entered spring practice as the frontrunners in a quarterback race that also features four-star true freshman Eli Holstein and Dylan Longergan.  However, it was clear following Alabama's spring game this past weekend that none of the competitors had separated themselves as the clear-cut starting quarterback.

"We wanted to give our quarterbacks in our program every opportunity to win the job in spring practice," Saban said.

Ultimately, the addition of Buchner merely intensifies the battle for one of the most high-profile quarterback jobs in college football. Whoever wins the race will replace Young and follow in a quarterback lineage at Alabama that also features recent Pro Bowl players Mac Jones and Jalen Hurts.