Saturday, February 24, 2024

Austin Mack transferring to Alabama: Ex-Washington QB plans to follow coach Kalen DeBoer to Crimson Tide

Washington transfer quarterback Austin Mack intends to transfer to Alabama, following coach Kalen DeBoer from the Huskies to the Crimson Tide, he announced Thursday. Mack was the No. 73 overall prospect in the 2023 recruiting cycle, according to 247Sports, and received offers from a handful of Pac-12 schools before committing to the Huskies. 

The 6-foot-6, 226 pounder heads to Alabama with four seasons of eligibility remaining after redshirting during his lone season at Washington. He did not see any playing time for the Huskies during their run to a College Football Playoff National Championship appearance. 

Mack was initially a member of the 2024 cycle before reclassifying and graduating a year early from Folsom (California) High School. Mack led Folsom to 12 wins and CIF Sacramento Division 1 championship in 2022, passing for 3,498 yards and 40 touchdowns. 

Mack is the first player — transfer or high school prospect — to commit to Alabama since DeBoer took over as coach on Jan. 12. 

Mack brings depth to Alabama QB room 

In committing to Alabama, Mack joins a quarterbacks room that already features an incumbent starter in Jalen Milroe. Despite inconsistent play — especially early in the season — Milroe’s efforts were enough to lead Alabama to the College Football Playoff semifinals. Milroe, who still has two seasons of eligibility remaining, finished the year with 2,834 yards and 23 touchdowns through the air. He ran for an additional 531 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

While it seems unlikely he’ll unseat Milroe in 2024, Mack has a solid chance to emerge as the Crimson Tide’s primary backup given the roster turnover the team has experienced. Quarterbacks Tyler Buchner and Eli Holstein are among the 29 outgoing transfers for Alabama, a number that continues to grow thanks to an NCAA-mandated 30-day window players are afforded to enter the portal following a coaching change. Five-star true freshman Julian Sayin has since enrolled as part of the Crimson Tide’s 2024 signing class, but like Mack, he has yet to prove himself at the collegiate level. 

Mack has a level of familiarity with DeBoer’s scheme that both Milroe and Sayin lack, which shouldn’t be discounted. With options somewhat limited, Mack should be able to gain plenty of reps in the spring, all while working with a staff that he’s already developed a relationship with. If Mack makes the most of his opportunities, it could at least make for an interesting storyline entering at fall camp before DeBoer firmly announces a starter. 

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