Raymond Anthony McCarron, Jr., usually known as A.J. McCarron, was born in Mobile, Alabama on September 13, 1990. A quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals, he previously spent his college years playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide, where he became the first quarterback of the BCS era to win consensus National Championships in two consecutive years.
McCarron enjoyed a successful high school football career at St. Paul's Episcopal School in his hometown of Mobile. As a junior, he led the team to a 14-1 record and the State Championship, while at the end of his senior year, he was selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. After receiving recruitment offers from numerous collages, including Auburn and Tennessee, he committed to the University of Alabama, becoming the school's only quarterback recruit from the class of 2009.
In his first year at Alabama, McCarron did not see any action and was redshirted as the team went on to win the BCS National Championship. In 2010, he saw some action, appearing in nine games and helping the Alabama Crimson Tide to a 10-3 season. He threw his first touchdown pass in the season opener against San Jose State and racked up a total of 389 passing yards and three touchdowns over the duration of the season.
Having been named as the co-starting quarterback for the 2011 season, McCarron went on to start every game, leading the team to an 11-1 regular season record and an appearance in the BCS National Championship Game. During the game, he was credited with 234 passing yards, as Alabama defeated the LSU Tigers 21-0. McCarron was subsequently named as the offensive MVP. In 2012, McCarron started all 14 games for the team, amassing 2,933 passing yards and 30 passing touchdowns as he guided the Crimson Tide to their second consecutive BSC National Championship. Then, as a senior in the 2013 season, he registered 3,063 passing yards, setting new school records for passing yards in a single season and career passing yards. He won the Maxwell Award, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and was runner up for the Heisman Trophy.
During the 2014 NFL Draft, McCarron was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fifth round, as the 164th overall pick.