- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
The University of Alabama has been clear about taking two quarterbacks in the 2013 class since the beginning, and a new target emerged on Wednesday to pair with current commitment Cooper Bateman when the Crimson Tide offered Mississippi signal-caller Ryan Buchanan.
“I was excited about it. It’s freaking Alabama,” Buchanan said. “I’ve talked to them since last summer, and I’ve been there a couple times, and they’ve always said we’ll offer you once you throw for us at camp. I guess they changed that, and they wanted to officially offer me now before their camp.”
Alabama’s first camp begins on Sunday, and the plan was to wait until then where the quarterbacks could throw in front of head coach Nick Saban before extending an offer. Apparently, that strategy has changed.
Bateman, an ESPN 150 signal caller from Utah, committed to UA last month, and the staff has subsequently offered two more prospects in the last week at the position.
For Buchanan, the fact that Alabama already has a top quarterback in the class is not a negative. He would welcome the competition.
“There will be competition wherever you go,” Buchanan said. “After losing Phillip Sims to transfer, they were looking to take two guys from the very beginning, and you never know with injuries, learning the playbook, a lot of stuff. You’ve got to compete wherever you go.”
Buchanan is also considering Florida, Oklahoma State and the two in-state schools, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. The Jackson, Miss., native visited Florida over the weekend and was impressed with the Gators’ program.
They’re definitely one of my top schools,” Buchanan said. “I like the offense they run that Brent Peas brought from Boise State. I feel comfortable with Coach [Will] Muschamp. It’s a special place to play, just like with Alabama. The Swamp is one of a kind.”
Buchanan plans to visit Tuscaloosa on Sunday for the Tide’s camp and make a decision in the next week or two.
McLeod gets UA offer, down to two
Marietta, Ga., quarterback Parker McLeod is another option for Alabama after the Crimson Tide offered him a scholarship last week.
UA offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier saw McLeod throw at practice this spring and was so impressed, he brought film of the kid back for Saban to watch. It was enough to earn the kid an offer from the Tide.
“[Nussmeier] really likes my accuracy and my balance and body control, and they want me to be the second guy in the class,” McLeod said.
Although Alabama already has the commitment from Bateman, the staff has told McLeod that he’s not necessarily the No. 2 guy in the class at the position. He has every chance to come in and take the job.
“Coach Saban and Coach Nussmeier have all been telling me they don’t see it as I’m the second guy,” McLeod said. “They see it as they’re taking two quarterbacks, and we’ll both have our shots to compete against each other. One’s not really ahead of the other.
“It’s good. Obviously, he’s more highly ranked, so it’s good to know that I can still compete with him. They’re not just going to make me a lifetime backup. That’s one of the big concerns to think about with Alabama.”
McLeod is teammates with current UA commitment Tyren Jones at Walton High School, and the ESPN 150 running back has already been working his quarterback, trying to persuade him to come to Alabama.
“I saw him Tuesday, and he’s getting in my ear,” McLeod said. “He just wants me to come there and be the quarterback with him.”
The three-star quarterback also plans to visit Tuscaloosa next week for the Tide’s camp where he will throw in front of Saban. If all goes well, he could pull the trigger, but he may wait until the end of the month before making his commitment.
At this point, it’s down to Alabama and Oklahoma State for McLeod.
2dEdward Aschoff and Alex Scarborough
2dAlex Scarborough and Greg Ostendorf