AJ McCarron returning to Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama starting quarterback AJ McCarron will return for his senior season, according to a release from the university.

"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," he said in a statement.

The junior from Mobile, Ala., led the country in passing efficiency this past season with 26 touchdowns and three interceptions. He threw for 2,669 yards and completed 66.8 percent of his passes as the Crimson Tide went 12-1.

No. 2 Alabama will face No. 1 Notre Dame in the Discover BCS National Championship Game in Miami on Jan. 7. Practice for the Crimson Tide begins Tuesday.

"We are pleased that AJ has decided to return for his senior year next season," UA coach Nick 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.

"... He showed very good maturity in looking at all of the factors and making an informed decision on his future. He has a chance to add to what he has already accomplished here while also better preparing himself for the next level."

McCarron's 45 career touchdowns rank second in school history. His .923 winning percentage (24-2) as a starter is second among Crimson Tide quarterbacks all time.