- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
Count Alabama commitment O.J. Howard among those who were excited when ESPN 150 quarterback Cooper Bateman committed to the Crimson Tide in May. The big 6-foot-6 tight end target knew he had a special player now on board to throw him the ball in the future.
“When I saw we got a really good quarterback, that caught my eye,” Howard said. “I was like, ‘This guy can play.’ I went and watched his film. He can throw. He can run if he wants to, but he’s a great quarterback, and he makes things happen on the field.”
Howard, who worked out Sunday at Alabama’s camp, just missed the opportunity to play catch with Bateman. The two still got a chance to meet face-to-face before Howard left town.
“I was looking forward to meeting him the whole time, and he said he was looking forward to meeting me, too,” Howard said. “He seemed like a good guy, and I know he’s a heck of an athlete. He’s a very good quarterback and a good person, also. That’s a win in my book.”
At the camp, Howard came out to compete, have fun and learn something new at the same time. He worked closely with UA tight ends’ coach Bobby Williams, running routes and catching passes.
As for the rumors surrounding a possible flip to Auburn, the Alabama native put those to rest, saying his commitment to the Tide is solid.
“I just came down to the conclusion that Alabama is it for me,” Howard said. “I want to go ahead and make it solid. I don’t want to be that guy who starts stuff all the time in the media because Alabama is the place for me.”
Find out what else Howard had to say about Auburn in The Tusk.
Langley closer to decision after camp
ESPN 150 cornerback Brendan Langley arrived in Tuscaloosa on Sunday with the Tide on top, and he left Monday with Alabama still as his leader. In between, he got a chance to work out for UA head coach Nick Saban.
“It was unreal,” Langley said of working with Saban. “Being coached by one of the best, if not the best coach in the country and being able to take from him, it was a phenomenal experience.
“He thought I did very well. Obviously, there’s some things that I need to work on, which I know, and he explained that to me. But after seeing me work today, I’m still the corner that he wants, and I was very happy to hear it.”
Although Langley was considered one of the better prospects at the Tide’s camp, he still took away new things to help him become both a better player and a better person.
“The camp went very well,” he said. “I feel like I learned a lot, pulled a lot of information out of it to bring back to my team to help us win a state championship."
When Langley left on Monday, the Marietta, Ga., prospect considered giving Alabama his commitment but held off. He’s set to announce on August 25 at the Georgia Dome for Kell High School’s season opener.
“August 25 is my set date, but I’m taking it day by day,” Langley said. “I don’t want you or anybody else to be surprised if I commit tonight or tomorrow or the next day.”
Langley still plans to camp at Tennessee this summer.
Top 2014 OL Brown enjoys camp, first visit to UA
The largest prospect at Alabama’s first summer camp was undoubtedly Orlando Brown Jr. The 6-foot-8, 370-pound offensive tackle towered over the other prospects, and he also proved to be one of the standout performers on Monday.
“The camp went pretty well,” Brown said. “We did some agility work. I showed them I could move a little bit. We did some offensive line individual drills, where I worked with Coach [Jeff] Stoutland, and then we did some one-on-ones. I felt like I did better in the one-on-ones than I have at the other combines.”
Brown is hoping to become one of the top offensive lineman in the 2014 class, and during Monday’s morning session, he got a chance to work side-by-side with the top offensive tackle for 2013, Laremy Tunsil.
“We were actually partners throughout the whole camp, so Coach Stoutland was working with both us,” Brown said. “He’s a great guy. I could tell why he is the top offensive tackle in the nation. He’s got good footwork, and he’s really good in one-on-ones.”
For Brown, it was his first ever trip to Tuscaloosa, and although he didn’t get a full tour, he saw enough to want to come back.
“It’s a great college, and you can tell why they win so many championships,” Brown said.
Alabama was just the first stop of many on tap for Brown this summer. The Duluth, Ga., prospect will be at Florida this weekend and plans to visit Florida State, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, South Carolina, USC and possibly Wisconsin in the coming months.
2014 QB impresses the coaching staff
Sophomore quarterback Devlin Hodges is hoping to get the attention of the Alabama coaching staff, and he helped himself this week with a strong performance at the Tide’s camp.
“It went good,” Hodges said. “I talked to Coach [Doug] Nussmeier after the camp. He told me I need to work on my footwork, but he said I threw the ball well. He said I’ve got good balance, good mechanics, and I’ve got a good touch on the ball. I had a good time.”
It was high praise coming from UA’s offensive coordinator, but Hodges was more concerned with what Nussmeier told him he needs to work on going forward.
“It felt better that he told me what I need to work on because now I know that I can work on that, go back and show him I can improve.”
Hodges will camp at Mississippi State on Saturday, Auburn on Sunday, and he plans to be back in Tuscaloosa in a couple weeks for a 7-on-7 tournament held on Alabama’s campus.
2dJeremy Crabtree and Brandon Chatmon