Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe has had a roller coaster ride to the College Football Playoff this year. He earned the starting job coming out of fall camp, was benched in Week 3 after struggling out of the gate, re-entered as the starter for Week 4 and led his team all the way to the SEC title and a berth in the Rose Bowl against Michigan.

Had he listened to the advice of one former Alabama coach, that ride may have been derailed before even getting out of the station.

When speaking to the media on Thursday, Milroe detailed a conversation with former Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien at the beginning of his career in which O'Brien suggested that Milroe's collegiate future may not be at quarterback. 

"How would you feel if I told you that you suck," he said. "The biggest thing for me is to be true to myself and stay the same. Nothing changed about me. The only thing that changed was that I had the opportunity and I seized it. For me, it was to stay true to myself and add a bigger purpose to anyone's opinion ... He told me a bunch of positions that I could have switched to, but look where I'm at right now. Who gets the last laugh?"

Milroe, who stands at 6-foot-2 and is a load to bring down at 220 pounds, has transformed himself into one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the country on the back of his early-season struggles. He has thrown for 2,718 yards, rushed for another 468 and has accounted for 35 touchdowns (23 passing, 12 rushing). More importantly, though, he has only thrown one interception since the start of November.

First-year offensive coordinator Tommy Rees played a major part in his success as well. Rees tailored his offensive strategy to suit Milroe's skill set more and more as the season has progressed. As a result, Milroe has emerged as one of the top downfield threats in the country. He currently ranks third in the nation in yards per attempt at 10.4 behind only LSU Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels and Kansas' Jason Bean.

Milroe's resurgence has the attention of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.

"He's playing at an elite level, and you can see the improvement throughout the season," Harbaugh said earlier this month. "Just really seems like he hit an inflection point there right before the halfway mark. Got also a special set of athletic skills. But as far as like timing, decision-making, accuracy, he's playing really well within the system. They've designed some great stuff for him."

No. 4 Alabama will play No. 1 Michigan in the Rose Bowl on Monday at 5 p.m. ET.