Notre Dame Football's loss is Alabama's gain as QB Tyler Buchner commits to Crimson Tide

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

That was quick. 

And, honestly, a little surprising even in this transient world of college football where players can just leave if they don’t like their current depth-chart situations. 

Former Notre Dame football quarterback Tyler Buchner obviously didn’t like his. 

Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner (12) carries in the second quarter against Toledo during their 2021 game at Notre Dame Stadium.

A week ago, Buchner was in a quarterback battle with Sam Hartman at Notre Dame. It was a battle that many figured Hartman, a sixth-year guy, would win. Would earn. Buchner would spend 2023 as the backup to Hartman, then have two seasons as the Irish starter. 

Then Tuesday happened. 

Then Thursday happened. 

Buchner, with three years of eligibility and not yet having played a full season of college football, jumped into the transfer portal on Tuesday afternoon. He left open the possibility of returning to Notre Dame. 

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Late Thursday morning, Buchner made his decision. He's going to Alabama. 


Yep, college football moves pretty fast. Buchner opened 2022 as the clear-cut starter at Notre Dame. He then was hurt in the second game and missed the next 10 with a left shoulder injury. He returned to earn most valuable player honors in the Gator Bowl. 

A year later, he’ll be one of four once-highly touted high school prospects vying for the job with the Crimson Tide after the departure of 2021 Heisman Trophy winning QB Bryce Young, presumed to be the first pick of Thursday night's NFL Draft. 

More:Notre Dame QB Tyler Buchner enters transfer portal with Alabama a possible landing spot

Buchner will play for former Irish quarterback/offensive coordinator Tommy Rees in Tuscaloosa. Rees was lured from his Golden Dome roots by Alabama head coach Nick Saban back in late January.

Something appeared to be up when Buchner announced that he was entering the portal., His addition to the portal also carried a “do not contact” designation, which meant he may have known all along that Alabama was his next destination. 

Turns out it is.

Notre Dame now has three quarterbacks set to enter the 2023 season — Hartman, sophomore Steve Angeli and early-enrolle freshman Kenny Minchey. Of course, it can also go and get another quarerback in the portal.

That's college football 2023. 

Hartman, a graduate transfer from Wake Forest who enrolled in January, went 13 for 16 passing for 179 yards and two touchdowns in the Gold’s 24-0 win on a rainy Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium. Hartman, who turns 24 in late July, added a rushing touchdown in a nearly flawless showing.

Buchner, however, struggled mightily in going 8-for-18 passing for 44 yards and an interception. Buchner, who started three games last season and is more of a running threat than Hartman, also was sacked twice in his first outing with Gerad Parker as offensive coordinator and Gino Guidugli as quarterbacks coach.

Notre Dame quarterback Drew Pyne (10) takes a snap as quarterbacks Ron Powlus III (11), Tyler Buchner (12) and Steve Angeli (18) look on with quarterbacks coach Tommy Rees during a Notre Dame spring football practice on Tuesday, April 12, 2022, in South Bend.

In two years running Rees' system, Buchner appeared in 13 games and went 67 of 118 passing (56.8%) for 949 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions. Half of those picks were returned for touchdowns, including two in the 45-38 Gator Bowl win over South Carolina.

As a freshman in 2021, Buchner functioned as a run-first relief option for Wisconsin grad transfer Jack Coan. In 10 games that season, Buchner averaged 7.3 yards per carry and ran for three touchdowns.

Overall, Buchner has rushed for 459 yards and seven touchdowns in college.

He is 1-2 as a college starter, including a shocking home loss to unranked Marshall on Sept. 10. After surgery to repair a sprained left AC joint suffered in that game, Buchner returned to practice ahead of schedule and went the distance against the Gamecocks.

Rallying the Irish from a 24-10 deficit, Buchner passed for three touchdowns and ran for two others. He finished with 273 passing yards (18 completions in 33 attempts) and 61 rushing yards (12 attempts).

Buchner’s 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mitchell Evans provided the winning score with 1:38 to play.

Drew Pyne, who went 8-2 as Buchner’s injury replacement last season, transferred to Arizona State in December.

According to the Tuscaloosa News, Buchner joins Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson in the Crimson Tide quarterback battle as Nick Saban seeks a signal caller to replace Young. Including freshmen Eli Holstein and Dylan Lonergan, Alabama now has five quarterbacks on scholarship. It's likely at least one transfers.