Nick Saban generally likes to add a quarterback to every recruiting class. Though with Alabama set to lose its best passer in program history this offseason, the Crimson Tide has opted to double-dip the position in the current cycle.
Alabama signed two quarterbacks on Wednesday, adding four-star talent Eli Holstein and Dylan Lonergan to a unit that is set to lose Bryce Young to the NFL.
Holstein is the No. 1 quarterback. 10 pro-style and the No. 110 all time in the nation. The 6-foot-4, 222-pound Zachary, La., native is coming off a senior season in which he completed 65.2 percent of his passes for 2,153 yards and 22 touchdowns with just three interceptions while adding 505 yards and nine more scores on the ground. In three years as a varsity starter, he threw for a total of 5,720 yards and 54 touchdowns with 11 interceptions while amassing 1,037 rushing yards and 23 scores with legs.
Lonergan, the quarterback No. 12 in pro style and the No. 235 in the nation, he plans to play both football and baseball at Alabama. The 6-foot-2, 198-pound Snellville, Georgia native finished his high school career with 9,717 total yards and 100 total touchdowns (75 passes, 25 rushing). He can also reach 87-90 miles per hour from the pitching mound with a high level breaking ball.
“We are obviously happy with both boys,” Saban said on Wednesday. “Both have participated in successful programs. We know a lot about them. They are great people. I think they have really good potential.”
Alabama had mixed results signing more passers in the same class. The Crimson Tide famously added a pair of future first-round picks in Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones in the class of 2017. Both passers went on to set program records before leaving for the NFL. Alabama had far less success in 2019 as they signed Taulia Tagovailoa and Paul Tyson. Taulia moved to Maryland in 2020 as Tyson moved to Arizona State last offseason before moving to Clemson this week.
With Young set to go, Holstein and Lonergan will make up half of a four-man quarterback room at Alabama as they join returning passers Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson. Alabama topped last season with three scholarship quarterbacks and already has a commitment from five-star recruit Julian Sayin in the Class of 2024. However, with transfers becoming the norm in today’s college football landscape, it’s better being overcrowded into the location rather than being left empty handed.
“I think with this day and age you really want to make sure when you basically know the guys that they leave your team whenever they want you to have enough guys in every position and they want to be the type of guys that want to grow in that position,” Saban said. “So I think both of these guys are very committed to that. So I mean, other than that, they’re the kind of guys we want, and I think they fit the profile of what we need in the position.
Holstein is already in Alabama helping the Crimson Tide prepare for its Sugar Bowl game against Kansas State on Dec. 31. He will also be on hand to attend spring camp where he will compete with Milroe and Simpson for the starting spot.
Lonergan will join the team this summer following his senior season of baseball at Brookwood High School. The right-handed pitcher is also a top prospect on the diamond and could have a tough decision to make after next year’s MLB draft in July.