Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones, Bryce Young. Not just SEC titles and College Football Playoff appearances, but first-round draft picks (Tagovailoa, Jones, Young) and Super Bowl appearances (Hurts). Who’s next?
That’s the expectation set recently for quarterbacks at the University of Alabama. Needless to say, it’s one of the most pressure-packed positions in all of college football.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Jalen Milroe — or any other starter — will certainly face such pressure as the Crimson Tide’s QB1. Head coach Nick Saban announced on Sept. 18 that Milroe is the starter moving forward, so he’ll have the rest of the season to prove he’s up to the task.
Previously, Milroe had been in a quarterback competition with transfer Tyler Buchner and redshirt freshman Ty Simpson. He started Alabama’s opener against Middle Tennessee State, completing 13 of 18 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns, and adding 48 yards and two scores on the ground in the 56-7 win.
But Milroe struggled in Week 2 in a 34-24 loss to Texas, completing only 51.8% of his passes and tossing two interceptions. He was then held out of Week 3’s 17-3 victory at South Florida so Buchner and Simpson could see more playing time. Saban wanted to see how Milroe, who was Young’s backup last season, would handle the situation.
“Everybody handles frustrations a little differently, and I think sometimes you’ve gotta direct your frustration and make it a motivator,” Saban said last week on “The Pat McAfee Show” via BamaOnLine.com. “… Jalen [responded well] this week, and I’m pleased with his performance. He’s got nothing to prove here. He’s our guy. He’s the guy that we have confidence in.”
So on Saturday at home against No. 15 Ole Miss, Milroe returned to the starting lineup. He completed 17 of 21 passes for 225 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the 24-10 triumph.
Jalen Milroe with a GUTSY throw while getting hit. He remained down momentarily. pic.twitter.com/AOyBdpugPD
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 23, 2023
After the game, Milroe was asked by the media how much he thinks he’s grown throughout the roller coaster of the past few weeks. He said the up-and-down start to the season hasn’t swayed him from holding fast to his Rock and his Foundation.
“I’ll say this, I get my strength from my Lord and Savior,” Milroe told the media. “I honestly say that, and I surrender my throne to Him, and I know that I can lean on Him no matter the circumstance. I honestly say I put my trust in Him no matter what.
“That’s where I get my strength at. My favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ And I can honestly say that. I can always lean on my Lord and Savior through any situation. So I’m good!”
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Last year, Milroe had the opportunity to learn on and off the field from the Heisman Trophy winner and eventual No. 1 overall pick. When Young went down with a game-ending shoulder injury in a crucial matchup at Arkansas, Milroe approached Young, who is his brother in Christ.
“The biggest thing I told [Young] was I love him,” Milroe said after that game. “… I just wanted to see how he was doing and check up on him. But he gave me some words of advice. And the biggest thing I wanted to tell him was God was with him and I love him.”
Then, Milroe turned to his Lord and Savior.
“The first thought I had was just talk to God,” he said. “Ask for protection, healing. Just know that He’s with me. So the first thing was talk to God. I had a one-on-one conversation with God.”
Milroe proceeded to have an impressive outing in Young’s stead. He passed for 65 yards and one touchdown while rushing for 91 yards and another score. His performance propelled the Crimson Tide to a convincing win, 49-26.
Outside of football, Milroe participates in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Alabama and grew up attending church. His grandfather was a deacon while his grandmother led a Bible study. It was in July 2022 that God led Milroe to get baptized.
Jalen Milroe got baptized today 🙏
— Touchdown Alabama (@TDAlabamaMag) July 3, 2022
“The Bible says, ‘Do not lean on your understanding‘ … lean on the Lord through it all,” Milroe told The Alabama Baptist in October. “That’s been big, because here at Bama you’re challenged day-in and day-out. Sometimes you can get weary; sometimes you can waver away from your end goal.
“But you know that God has a purpose. God wants us to lean on Him through it all. Every day I’m challenged. No matter what, I know that I can lean on Him. Not only for the bad, but I can lean on Him for good and thank Him.”
Milroe knows that God is at work in him and through him. All things are for his ultimate good and God’s ultimate glory. Milroe can always rest in that glorious truth, even as he endures the pressures of life as Alabama’s starting quarterback.
With Milroe now entrenched as the starter, the Crimson Tide travel to Starkville, Mississippi, to take on Mississippi State (2-2) at 9 p.m. ET Saturday.
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