|McCarron's production and poise are impressive, but NFL scouts will have to wait. (US Presswire)|
With the BCS title game against No. 1 ranked Notre Dame looming,
"There were some factors in my decision to return to Alabama for my senior year, but after talking to my family and coaches, I knew it was the right choice for me," McCarron said in a statement.
McCarron, who leads the nation in passing efficiency with a 173.08 rating, has completed 66.8 percent of his passes this season with an eye-popping 26 touchdowns against just three interceptions. Those numbers are improvements from a season ago when the sophomore helped the Tide win the national championship with a 147.27 QB rating that included completing 66.77 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns against five interceptions for the year.
Considering that the two most efficient collegiate quarterbacks a year ago -- Russell Wilson (191.78) and Robert Griffin III (189.48) -- have taken the NFL by storm as rookies, some had speculated that McCarron might look to leave Alabama for the NFL a year early, especially if the Crimson Tide were successful in defending their national title against the Irish in the Jan. 7 BCS national championship game in Miami.
McCarron's decision was likely complicated by the fact that this year's crop of quarterbacks is a bit underwhelming in comparison to past years. West Virginia's Geno Smith and Southern Cal's Matt Barkley currently head NFLDraftScout.com's quarterback rankings but neither has demonstrated the elite skill-set and consistency that has led to passers earning the No. 1 pick each of the past four drafts and 12 of the past 15. Furthermore, McCarron could be taking quite the risk in terms of pass protection. He's been aided by arguably the nation's elite offensive line this season but stands to lose senior All-Americans Chance Warmack and Barrett Jones at minimum and many expect junior right tackle D.J. Fluker to join them as an early entry into the 2013 NFL draft. Some have even speculated that head coach Nick Saban might be tempted to take the NFL plunge again.
If Saban is considering jumping back into the NFL, he certainly didn't sound like it Wednesday, welcoming McCarron back to the team.
"We are pleased that AJ has decided to return for his senior year next season," Saban said in the release. "He's done a great job for us and has really grown, not only as a quarterback and a player, but as a leader of our team."
McCarron currently ranks as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 5 quarterback in the 2014 class. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound McCarron has demonstrated plenty of arm strength, accuracy and mobility throughout his career, as well as the intangibles NFL teams are looking for in a franchise quarterback.