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The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Jalen Milroe and Quinn Ewers: A tale of two quarterbacks

CW / Natalie Teat
Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe (#4) during pre-game warm-ups before playing against Middle Tennessee on Sep. 2 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

With both No. 3 Alabama and No. 11 Texas winning their season openers, the stage is set for a top-25 showdown at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday. Both teams are contenders to make the College Football Playoff heading into the season and are favorites to win their respective conferences. This Week 2 matchup has a lot of implications on the line, including a possible early elimination from playoff contention.  

One huge factor in this game is the two quarterbacks: Alabama’s Jalen Milroe and Texas’ Quinn Ewers. Both excelled in their first starts of the season, and both are from Texas, with Milroe from Katy and Ewers from Southlake but born in San Antonio. But they both have very different stories how they got to their positions and what their roles are. 

Their origin stories  

Jalen Milroe was born in Katy, Texas, and attended Tompkins High School, where he became a starter as a junior, throwing for over 2,000 yards and nearly 30 touchdowns and 378 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. He then had almost 4,000 yards in the air and more than 500 yards on the ground and 53 total touchdowns as a senior. 

Quinn Ewers grew up in Southlake, Texas, and attended Carroll Senior High School, where he also played baseball. Ewers threw for almost 4,000 yards and 45 touchdowns as a sophomore as he led his team to the state quarterfinals. During his junior year, he missed six games and still threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns, leading his team to the state championship game. 

The collegiate level  

Milroe committed to the University of Texas in July of 2020 to play for then-head coach Tom Herman. After Ewers committed to the Longhorns a month later, Milroe flipped to Alabama.  

Ewers was a five-star recruit and the No. 1 overall high school recruit in the class of 2022 and would have been the first quarterback to have a perfect 1.000 composite rating since former Longhorn great Vince Young. However, three months later, he decommitted and signed with Ohio State. Milroe was a four-star recruit and the 18th-best player in the state of Texas, as well as 14th-best quarterback in the class of 2021. 

On both sides of the matchup, both Texas natives have been influenced by Young, the quarterback who cemented himself as a Longhorn legend.  

“Vince Young is someone I did watch, as far as highlights,” Milroe said. “Growing up, I was always a Vince Young fan. He was my first jersey that I bought. I love Vince Young.” 

Road to being the man for their teams 

Ewers saw limited time at Ohio State in 2021 and redshirted. In December of 2021, he transferred to Texas. Ewers won the starting job,ob and despite playing 10 games due to injury, he was still good throwing for 2,177 yards and 15 touchdowns with six interceptions. 

Milroe also redshirted his freshman year and was the backup to Bryce Young during the 2021 and 2022 seasons. In 2022, he started against Texas A&M after Young went down with an injury. He threw for three touchdowns but also committed three turnovers. This caused many people to doubt if he could be Young’s successor. 

After competing with Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner and highly touted high school recruit Ty Simpson, Milroe won the starting job out of preseason camp. In his second career start, he went for nearly 200 yards in the air and three touchdowns while also rushing for almost 50 yards and two more touchdowns on the ground, combining for a total of five touchdowns.  

I think it was a start,” Milroe said. “It was a start for everything and the one thing that I want to do is just improve. That’s one thing I wanted to do was appreciate the win, number one. But, also, look in the mirror and try to look at, ‘Hey, how can I be a better leader? How can I be a better passer? How can I be more efficient?’ So just, overall, just trying to improve.”  

While Saban has faith in his starting quarterback, he also said he doesn’t want to speculate about Milroe’s improvement. 

So, you asking me to speculate and answer a hypothetical question about how some guy’s going to perform in the future? I don’t really know. I mean, I love him. I think he’s doing well. I know he’s working hard trying to improve, Saban said, then picked up a Coke bottle. “This is a Coke bottle. It’s not a crystal ball. 

On the Texas side, Ewers held off a challenge from No. 1 overall recruit Arch Manning, the son of football royalty, to keep the starting job for 2023. He went for 260 yards and three touchdowns in the Longhorn opener versus Rice.  

The matchup 

Now that both quarterbacks won their first games of the 2023 season, their teams are in the spotlight for a primetime nationally televised showdown on Saturday. Ewers, a possible first-round prospect for the 2024 NFL draft and a Heisman Trophy favorite, is trying to bring Texas back to national prominence after being out of the title conversation for over a decade.  

Milroe, meanwhile, is following in the footsteps of a legendary Heisman-winning quarterback who was drafted No. 1 overall. 

Both quarterbacks will get a chance to show the whole country what they’re made of on Saturday in primetime.  

Ewers said he was comfortable heading into the matchup in Tuscaloosa.  

“You know, this time last year, going into this game, I don’t think I had a whole lot of thought to it, because it was still pretty new for me,” Ewers said. “[The] whole college football deal and the tempo of it and whatnot, but no, like I’ve been saying, I’m pretty comfortable with where I’m at.” 

The next chapter in Milroe’s and Ewers’ stories is set for 6:00pm on Saturday night. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.  

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