McCarron a clear-cut leader in 2013

Who left: Philip Ely (transfer)

Who’s still here: AJ McCarron (senior), Blake Sims (junior), Alec Morris (redshirt freshman)

Who’s new: Cooper Bateman (four-star), Parker McLeod (three-star), Luke Del Rio (preferred walk-on)

Standouts: AJ McCarron capped his second year as a starter with another national championship. Leading the nation with a 173.08 passing efficiency in 2012, McCarron also broke the school record for touchdown passes in a season with 30.

Outlook: With a 24-2 record as a starter, McCarron has as many national championships to his credit as losses. Barring a serious injury, McCarron will be the starter every game and could possibly end the regular season as a Heisman finalist. With a deep receiving corps, McCarron has no shortage of hands to throw to.

Behind him, Blake Sims has held on to his backup role despite not being a pro-style passer. Saban has praised Sims’ improvement in 2013 and indications are he will continue to be a solid second-stringer. Alec Morris is the presumed third-string quarterback after seeing playing time in the 2013 A-Day game, but walk-on Luke Del Rio took a few third-team reps in the 2013 preseason. However, the shuffling behind McCarron is now merely a backdrop to what will be an interesting competition in 2014.

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