With that being said, here is a look at the challengers who will likely emerge as the main candidates for the 2016 Tide quarterback job.
COOPER BATEMAN, 6-foot-3, 224 lbs, junior: Will enter fall practice as the early favorite to land the starting nod by virtue of his being the only quarterback on the Alabama roster with any significant game experience. Of course he started the Tide's game against Ole Miss last season, completing 11 of 14 passes for 87 yards and an interception before being pulled in favor of Coker in the Tide's only loss of the 2015 season. Overall in his seven appearances last season he completed 37 of 52 aerial attempts for 291 yards with two picks and a touchdown.
BLAKE BARNETT, 6-foot-5, 200 lbs, freshman: Much like sophomore tailback Bo Scarbrough, Barnett has already captured the imagination of many Tide fans, and has been the subject of much hype even though he has yet to make any significant contribution to the fortunes of Saban's team. Unlike Scarbrough, however, Barnett has yet to contribute at all in an official game as he was redshirted last season and had mixed results during this spring's A Day Game. No one has ever questioned his arm, and he was a consensus five-star prep prospect, but he may still need to get a bit bigger and he has also been turnover-prone on occasion.
DAVID CORNWELL, 6-foot-5, 234 lbs, sophomore: Was redshirted during his freshman year and did not see any action last year although he appeared to be a prominent candidate for last year's starting role during a strong spring. Was one of the top pro-style quarterbacks in the country as a prep standout in Norman, Oklahoma, and had a fairly impressive A Day game performance this spring.
OUR VIEW: Saban has traditionally given the nod to the quarterback with the most experience, much like he did with Sims in 2014 and with Coker last season, although even he may still be second-guessing his decision to start Bateman against the Rebels in 2015. Freshman Jalen Hurts is a wild card who has already contributed to the Crimson Tide by helping Alabama prepare for Clemson in January's national championship game, and he showed a good arm and nifty legs in the spring game. My guess, however, is that he will be redshirted this season. So the feeling here for myself and most of the other media types is that Bateman begins the season in the starting role, but if it is indicative early that he cannot get the job done and move the offense consistently, I doubt Saban will hesitate to give a shot to Cornwell or possibly even Barnett considering his array of talents and the potential he brings.