By the (star) numbers: Quarterbacks

Over the next week or so, we'll go through every position and analyze the accuracy of's star ratings on Alabama's actual performance at that position. First up: quarterbacks.

Alabama quarterbacks of note:

A.J. McCarron—four stars

Phillip Ely—three stars

Something fun for analysts and fans to do once athletes graduate or move on to the professional ranks—in any sport—is to see if that player turned out like they were projected to in college based on recruiting ratings.

Sometimes the more underrated players become the stars, while the highly touted athletes become busts.

Last year was AJ McCarron's first as Alabama's starting quarterback. He beat out Phillip Sims, a five-star recruit by's standards who has since left the program on his own volition, to win the job. McCarron finished 2011 with a 66.8 completion percentage and national championship glory. He went 219 of 328 for 2,634 yards, 16 touchdowns and only five interceptions on the year. In the BCS title game against LSU, McCarron completed 23 of 34 passes for 234 yards and no interceptions and was named offensive MVP.

McCarron returns for his junior year, letting Crimson Tide fans everywhere breathe a sigh of relief that the quarterback position is filled by a proven veteran living up to his star ranking. Not to mention the offensive line protecting him has four returning starters (but that star analysis is for another story).

Last year Alabama ran a balanced offense, throwing for a total of 2,797 yards, averaging 215.2 yards per game, and rushing for 2,788, 214.46 ypg.

It's a little difficult to evaluate the depth of this position because McCarron is the only quarterback on the Crimson Tide's roster who's made an impact on the field. Phillip Ely, a three-star recruit in the 2011 class, was an early enrollee who led his high school to the Florida 5A State Title. There's also Dustin Ellison and Ty Reed, but neither have played enough of a role to be evaluated for the purposes of this article.

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