NCAA Football: Gator Bowl-South Carolina at Notre Dame

Alabama has landed the commitment of transfer quarterback Tyler Buchner, the former Notre Dame starter announced Thursday. The rising redshirt sophomore chose the Crimson Tide after entering the transfer portal on April 25.

"Sometimes life brings opportunities that are beyond anything you can imagine, and that is what happened today," Buchner wrote in a statement posted to his Twitter account. "I have committed to play football at the University of Alabama and head coach Nick Saban. I know that this is the best decision for my future, and I can't wait to get to Tuscaloosa and begin the next step of my football journey."

Buchner entered the 2022 season as the starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder threw for 378 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions before a shoulder injury suffered in the Week 2 loss to Marshall knocked him out of action for the remainder of the regular season. 

He came back strong in the Gator Bowl win over South Carolina, however, throwing for 273 yards and rushing for 61 yards while accounting for five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing). Buchner did throw three interceptions against the Gamecocks, though, which put his status as the starting quarterback in flux heading into the offseason.

Irish coach Marcus Freeman hit the transfer market during the first window last winter and nabbed former Wake Forest starter Sam Hartman, one of the most sought-after quarterbacks on the transfer market. Freeman said after Notre Dame's spring game that despite the five years of experience that Hartman has under his belt, Buchner still had a shot at earning the top spot on the depth chart. 

So what does Buchner's transfer to perennial national title contender Alabama mean? Let's have a look. 

Massive potential at Alabama

Buchner's brief career at Notre Dame was nothing short of a roller coaster. He was inconsistent with the football during all three of his games last season but showed his upside in the thrilling 45-38 win in the Gator Bowl. That is a big reason why he was a four-star prospect and the No. 91 overall player in the Class of 2021. 

In heading to Alabama, it looks like the playing time may be available. Neither Jalen Milroe nor Ty Simpson looked prepared to lead Alabama on a College Football Playoff run during their respective spring game performances, and Crimson Tide fans -- and Saban in particular -- expect nothing less than national championships. 

Milroe was 19-of-37 passing for 245 yards and two touchdowns. He added 65 yards and a touchdown on the ground, even though quarterbacks weren't "live" and couldn't be tackled. Simpson completed 12 of 26 passes for 155 yards with an interception, which has caused consternation not only among fans but Saban himself.

"I think we've gotta work on going through progressions and develop confidence in the passing game so that we can distribute the ball to other people who can make plays more effectively and more efficiently," Saban said.

Of course, that could be coach speak and specifically designed to motivate the two primary contenders, but the landscape has changed after Saban went out and nabbed one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the second portal window.

Reuniting with Tommy Rees

Tommy Rees, entering his first season as Alabama offensive coordinator, spent the last six seasons on the Notre Dame staff, including the last three as its offensive coordinator. He was the coach who made the decision to name Buchner the starting quarterback over Drew Pyne last summer, and is listed as Buchner's primary recruiter on Buchner's 247Sports profile. 

That familiarity is huge under normal circumstances, and is even more important at a place like Alabama given the current state of its quarterback room. Saban has suggested numerous times that he intends Rees to implement an offense that is based more on pounding the rock to get tough yards rather than simply hoping for the home run on the ground, which was the case under former play-caller Bill O'Brien. 

The Crimson Tide's offensive philosophy is clearly changing -- or, at the very least, being tweaked. What better way is there for Rees to install that philosophy than re-recruiting the guy that helped him get the job at Alabama to begin with.