High Opinion Of AJ From Modern QBs

If you can name Alabama's starting quarterbacks over the past 50 or 60 years, you are not really special. Thousands of Crimson Tide fans could do it with a fair degree of accuracy. But if you have BEEN one of those quarterbacks, now that's special. The latest in that special position is AJ McCarron.

The most notable thing about A.J. McCarron is that he has quarterbacked Alabama to back-to-back national championships and is back for a final season to have a chance at making history, becoming the first to quarterback a college team to three consecutive national championships.

Last year he became the all-time Crimson Tide leader in career passing touchdowns with 49 and also became the single season record-holder at Alabama as he threw for 30 touchdowns. Against that, he was intercepted only three times in 2012. That's a primary reason he was the national leader in passing efficiency. He has thrown a Bama record 291 consecutive passes without an interception.

Here is the fifth in a series in which we see how other special people see the position of Bama quarterback and, more important, how they see Alabama quarterback A J McCarron:

These are the most recent predecessors of McCarron -- Brodie Croyle, John Parker Wilson, and Greg McElroy.

Brodie Croyle was Alabama quarterback from 2002-05. He kicks off the discussion of what it means to him to have been the Alabama quarterback and then how McCarron has performed.

Croyle said, "It's an honor and a privilege (to be a Bama quarterback). It's something I dreamed up of doing. Now that I'm done with that and done with playing pro ball, you have a chance to go back and look at it and really see what an honor it was. It's pretty awesome. It's something that I'll always remember. It's something that I can't wait to share with my son my experiences there.

"There is not a better place to play, honestly. The fans of Alabama are just second to none. They have always been nothing but great to me and my family. The word that keeps popping up in my mind is, it was an honor. There is a certain standard for the position and a way to how you carry yourself.

"There is a certain amount of responsibility so you understand those things but at the same time you are preparing for games and trying to get ready every week. You don't have time until you get a little bit older to reflect upon the experience. Even with the probation and with all the coaching changes, Alabama football is still Alabama football."

As for McCarron, Croyle said, "I think he has pretty much solidified himself as one of the best Alabama quarterbacks to ever play. He has a good head on his shoulders. If he wins another national championship, not only will he be considered the best that ever played at Alabama, he has to be among the best to ever play college football in my opinion just based off winning. Three years as a starter. Three years winning a national championship. That is hard to compete with.

"AJ grew up in Alabama not so much an Alabama fan but he always understood the meaning of playing the position. The fact that he came back for his senior year to do something special not only for his legacy but for The University of Alabama to have a chance at winning three national championships in a row speaks for Alabama and for the character of AJ as well.

"I always thought AJ was good. He had arm talent. He had all the talent in the world but last year at LSU was really the first game things didn't go exactly as planned for AJ and the team. It was one of those games where he had to work his way through it and struggle through it. He was called on to go win the game. He had the inner confidence, where with all to go out there and engineer one of the best drives in Alabama history. I think at that point in time, it became AJ's team and you could just see him grow from the experience. I'm just excited to see him play as a senior with three years under his belt and really truly be his team from the get go."

John Parker Wilson was the Alabama quarterback when McCarron was making the decision to come to The Capstone. Wilson was quarterback under Mike Shula in 2006 and was under Nick Saban in 2007 and 2008.

Wilson said, "I think [being the Crimson Tide quarterback] is a huge honor. I think being the quarterback at The University of Alabama is a very prestigious position and I was blessed enough to have the ability to do it and have the right people along the way to help me get there. I was lucky enough to start for three years and it was just an amazing experience. It was a tremendous honor to play and carry the torch for all the quarterbacks that came before me and help make Alabama football what it is today. I think everybody that has played before us has helped build the legacy and help continue the legacy.

"I think you can't say enough about AJ since the time he has been there. I think he is one of the best of all times. He has won and that is what it is all about.

"He does a lot of things well. I think he has all the measurables of a great quarterback be it arm strength, size, height and all the things you can look at on paper. I think he makes great decisions. He has always taken care of the ball. That is one of the great things you can say about a quarterback that he is always throwing the ball in the right place. Then, he makes the plays that need to be made. All through the game he throws to the right guy and he is an accurate passer. When the big play needs to be made it seems like he is always throwing the big pass at the big time."

Greg McElroy quarterbacked Alabama to the national championship in his junior season, 2009, and McCarron was his back-up in both 2009 and 2010.

As for being the Bama quarterback, McElroy said, "Obviously it means the world to me. Going to school there was one of the great blessings. It was one of those situations where it could not have been more perfect. I'm just thrilled to have had that opportunity and to have represented The University of Alabama and the people in the state of Alabama.

"AJ is a great guy. I had a chance to play with him for a couple of years so think very highly of him and I'm very proud of what he has been able to accomplish. I'm not the least bit surprised at what he's been able to do. He plays with such a great tenacity. He plays smart but he also plays aggressive. He does a great job maneuvering in the pocket. He does a great job with his offensive lineman. He's a tremendous leader. His record and what he's been able to accomplish speaks for itself.

"More than anything Coach Saban preaches taking care of the football but AJ still has an aggressive mentality where he takes it down the field and really tries to stretch and extend defenses."

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