Notre Dame transfer QB Buchner commits to Alabama and Rees

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FILE - Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner (12) reacts after receiving the game's MVP trophy after the Gator Bowl NCAA college football game against South Carolina, Friday, Dec. 30, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla. Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner has committed to Alabama, where he will be reunited with former Fighting Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Rees. Buchner announced his decision in a Twitter post Thursday, April 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough, File)

Notre Dame transfer quarterback Tyler Buchner committed on Thursday to Alabama, where he will be reunited with former Fighting Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Rees.

“Sometimes life brings opportunities that are beyond anything you can imagine and that is what has happened today,” Buchner said in a Twitter post. “I have committed to play football for the University of Alabama and head coach Nick Saban.”

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Buchner, entering his third college season, began last year as Notre Dame’s starting QB but injured his shoulder in a Week 2 game against Marshall and missed the rest of the regular season.

He returned to lead the Fighting Irish to a Gator Bowl victory against South Carolina.

In two seasons with the Irish, the former four-star recruit from California has thrown six touchdown passes and eight interceptions. He also has run for seven scores and 459 yards.

Rees, who recruited Buchner, left his alma mater to take the same job at Alabama earlier this year.

Alabama completed spring practice last weekend with no clear front-runner in a quarterback competition that include third-year player Jalen Milroe, redshirt freshman Ty Simpson and two freshmen.

The Crimson Tide are looking for a replacement for Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, who is expected to be one of the first picks Thursday night in the NFL draft.

Milroe is the only incumbent Alabama quarterback with significant game experience. He started one game last season and played most of another after Young was injured in a game against Arkansas.

Milroe threw five touchdown passes and three interceptions while completing 58.5% of his passes last season. He also ran for four touchdowns, including three in a victory against Texas A&M.

The last time Alabama's No. 1 quarterback for a season was a transfer was 2015, when former Florida State passer Jacob Coker helped lead the Tide to a national title. Since then, the Tide's starters have been Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones and Young.

Buchner was competing at Notre Dame with Wake Forest transfer Sam Hartman, who came to the Fighting Irish with three seasons of starting experience and 110 career touchdown passes. He will be a sixth-year senior.

Coach Marcus Freeman did not name a starter after spring practice, and Buchner said earlier this week when he announced that he would enter his name in the transfer portal that a return to Notre Dame was possible.

Instead, he will play for Rees, the former Notre Dame quarterback who spent six seasons as position coach for the Fighting Irish. He was offensive coordinator from 2020-22.

Buchner is the second Notre Dame quarterback to transfer since the end of last regular season. Drew Pyne left for Arizona State.

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