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Alabama players value Jalen Milroe’s leadership as he returns as QB1

Alabama head coach Nick Saban shakes quarterback Jalen Milroe's hand
Gary Cosby Jr. - USA Today Sports

Jalen Milroe returns as Alabama’s starting quarterback after watching the Tyler Buchner experiment last week.

He did not play versus South Florida, but Milroe supported his teammates and the Crimson Tide earned a 17-3 victory.

RELATED: WATCH: Nick Saban talks naming Jalen Milroe the starter vs. Ole Miss

Nick Saban addressed reporters on Monday that Milroe did enough in a leadership role to be awarded the job for the team’s matchup against Mississippi. Coach Saban also stated that Milroe had played the best of the three quarterbacks in the competition. The game of musical chairs is over, and no one is more excited about it than the teammates around Milroe.

Players spoke Monday and Tuesday about the sophomore’s leadership. They want to do everything to help him be better.

JC Latham, a junior offensive tackle, praised Milroe for being engaged, despite not playing against the Bulls.

“It was a great job by him,” Latham said. “A lot of guys in that position, especially when you have a starting job at the University of Alabama when you lose that job, you lose your confidence and morale. He took it on the chin. He knew what he had to do to be better, and he’s never brought negative energy on or off the field. He’s held himself accountable and all of us accountable. It was a great example of what a leader is and what a leader needs to do through adversity.”

Deontae Lawson, a sophomore linebacker, came in the 2021 recruiting class with Milroe.

RELATED: Jalen Milroe is officially Alabama’s starting QB moving forward

“I know the kind of player he is and the person he is, so I am in great spirits,” Lawson said about Milroe getting named Alabama’s starting quarterback moving forward. 

Roydell Williams, a senior running back, describes Milroe as a ‘vocal leader.’

“He leads by example, but he also talks in the locker room,” Williams said. “He encourages everybody and that’s key because we have a lot of young guys on the team now. He is that voice in the locker room, and it’s very important.”

Williams said Milroe is balanced in his strengths as a dual-threat quarterback.

“Mentally, he’s there,” Williams said. “Physically, he’s there. He’s strong, fast, has a strong arm, and overall he knows what he needs to do. He stays in the meeting room extra. He knows what he needs to do.”

Jermaine Burton, a senior wide receiver, said Milroe is always involved in the offense.

“As long as he continues to be involved, he is going to be a great leader,” Burton said.

Most athletes, college or professional, would have sulked if they lost the starting job. Milroe supported Tyler Buchner and Ty Simpson against South Florida. He celebrated with the redshirt freshman after Simpson led the offense on a touchdown-scoring drive. Milroe has a second chance to prove he’s the guy for the job, and he’s set to take advantage of it.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith. 

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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