The University of Alabama has missed out on its top quarterback targets the last two years. In 2011, the Crimson Tide came up short with Bubba Starling, and last year they saw both Gunner Kiel and Jameis Winston sign elsewhere.
The position became an even bigger priority in this year’s class when backup quarterback Phillip Sims transferred to Virginia this spring.
Top 2013 quarterback prospect Max Browne already committed to USC after considering the Tide, but Alabama found the next best thing when ESPN 150 signal caller Cooper Bateman committed to UA on Wednesday.
“I have chosen to attend the University of Alabama,” Bateman said in a statement. “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.”
Because of the lack of depth, Alabama could still take another quarterback in this class, but with Bateman, the staff landed a star at the position who will battle 2012 signee Alec Morris for the starting gig when AJ McCarron leaves.
The commitment could also signal a change in the offense. Last year, the Tide added a number of playmakers at wide receiver, and now new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier has a quarterback who can get the ball to them.
Don’t expect Alabama to go away from the running game, but the offense now has the tools to open up and pass the ball more in the future.
Scout’s take: With a departure of Phillip Sims and a significant need at quarterback for the Crimson Tide in general, Alabama fills a huge hole with the addition of Cooper Bateman. Bateman fits what Alabama wants from their QB—efficiency, timing, anticipation, the ability to play from under center and a knack for making college level throws consistently. He is polished and an extremely hard worker on and off the field. The recruitment of a quarterback for Alabama over the last two classes has been more difficult than people would think it should be which is why this is such a big pick-up. We had felt in February Bateman would blow up when we first viewed him and that certainly happened at a rapid pace. - Tom Luginbill