With finals done nationwide, and a few weeks between the end of the spring and the start of summer school, it’s a relatively quiet time for college football news. But on the recruiting trail, things continue to remain white hot, as the top rising seniors are making their college decisions in a fast and furious manner. And just one day after the top running back in high school football committed to the USC Trojans, another big name came off the board came off the board Tuesday afternoon.
That name? Cooper Bateman, and he could be coming to an SEC stadium- and for all we know, a National Championship Game- near you. The four-star signal-caller committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide, where incredibly, he could compete for almost immediately for playing time.
Before we get to that, let’s first get to the news with Bateman, who at 6’3 190 lbs. appears to be the perfect build to be the next great pro-style quarterback in Tuscaloosa. He finished his junior season at Salt Lake City’s Cottonwood Senior High School throwing for over 2,700 yards and 27 touchdowns, and when the call came from Saban, the lure to Tuscaloosa proved to be too great. He selected the Crimson Tide over from just about every school in the country, releasing a statement on Tuesday which said in part:
“I have chosen to attend the University of Alabama,” Bateman said. “I am honored that I will get to learn from Coach [Nick] Saban and Coach [Nussmeier] and will get to represent Alabama, the state and the university.”
And maybe the craziest part about this commitment is that at a school known for the insane depth on its two-deep, Bateman plays the one position where the Crimson Tide could need near immediate help from him.
Projecting where Alabama goes from here at the quarterback position, it seems for certain that barring a monstrous 2012 season, A.J. McCarron will be an entrenched third-year starter when Bateman arrives in the fall of 2013. But once 2014 hits, well, the quarterback position appears like it’ll be wide open. After seeing Phillip Sims leave this off-season for Virginia and after losing out on stud recruits Gunner Kiel (to Notre Dame) and Max Browne (a 2013 quarterback committed to USC), it appears as though right now it’ll be Bateman and 2012 signee Alec Morris competing for the vacant spot two falls from now. Whether a redshirt freshman can win the job outright is still something that’s a long way from being decided, but it seems at least feasible giving the hole on the Crimson Tide’s roster.
And while it’s impossible to know when (if ever) Bateman will get the starting job, if he does, he should have plenty of big-play receivers to throw the ball to. Since Nussmeier was hired this winter, he has spoken vocally about opening up the playbook, and letting his quarterbacks throw deep. And looking at the class of 2012 signees seems to suggest exactly that. Big things are expected from incoming wide receivers Chris Black, Amari Cooper and Eddie Smith, the latter of which was listed as an “athlete” on Signing Day, but who is expected to slide over to the wide receiver slot. Alabama may never be Oklahoma State or Houston, but there does appear to be a renewed emphasis on throwing the ball.
The benefactor of that should be Bateman.
He might not hit the field for awhile, but he’s definitely a name to keep an eye on. Those in Tuscaloosa sure will be.
For all his insight, opinion and articles on college football, be sure to follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.