McCarron's first performance of 2012 was his best as a starter.
10 QB A.J. McCarron (Jr.)
2011 season: Started all 13 games, passing for 2,634 yards and 16 touchdowns while completing 66.8 percent of his attempts. BCS Championship Game offensive most valuable player after completing 23 of 34 passes for 234 yards in 21-0 win over LSU.
2012 spring practice: In three scrimmages, McCarron completed 68 of 114 passes for 754 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was intercepted four times. Mal Moore Leadership Award recipient at the close of spring drills.
What he brings to the table: Not that he has ever suffered from self-esteem issues but with 12 wins and a national title under his belt as the starter, McCarron heads into his second year on the job armed with the kind of confidence that comes from knowing he's the man. With McCarron comfortable in his starter skin, look for more explosive plays from the passing game in 2012. The question is, will they come at the expense of efficiency?
10 CB John Fulton (Jr.)
2011 season: Fulton lettered for the second time as a true sophomore, posting five total tackles as a backup cornerback and contributor on kickoff coverage.
2012 spring practice: One of four players to receive the Jerry Duncan "I like to practice" Award, Fulton stepped in for DeQuan Menzie as the starter at right corner. Competition with Deion Belue and others will extend into fall camp. Notched four solo tackles in the A-Day game.
What he brings to the table: Like his classmate and fellow corner, Dee Milliner, Fulton has spent the past two years getting acclimated with a defensive system that is anything but simplistic. And it's that experience that gives him a slight edge over his competitors at this point. That said, the battle for the second and third corner spots isn't over.
12 QB Phillip Ely (rFr.)
2011 season: Worked with the scout team while redshirting as a true freshman.
2012 spring practice: Completed 10 of 18 passes for 83 yards in the A-Day game. With the transfer of Phillip Sims to Virginia, Ely will head into fall camp as the favorite to backup McCarron.
What he brings to the table: Ely has made solid improvement in his first 18 months in the program, especially from a physical standpoint. While not blessed with NFL-like arm strength, he's capable of directing a balanced offense on a short-term basis. Whether he's the answer over the long haul is something Nick Saban doesn't want to begin to learn for at least another year.