- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Quarterback is a difficult position to recruit. If you miss on a kid, it could set you back for years to come. You normally only get once chance with each class.
That’s why the University of Alabama is so selective when taking recruits at the position. The general rule is that Nick Saban has to see a kid throw in person before the Crimson Tide offer a scholarship. That’s why no 2014 signal callers have received an offer from Alabama yet.
However, with players committing earlier and earlier, the Tide broke their rule last year by offering Cooper Bateman (Salt Lake City/Utah) a scholarship before he had the opportunity to attend Alabama’s camp and throw in front of Saban.
It paid off, though, as Bateman ended up committing to the Tide.
It’s still a little early to evaluate next year’s class (Bateman wasn’t even on the radar until February), but a number of top signal callers have already visited Tuscaloosa either for camp in the summer or for a game this fall.
QB Drew Barker (Hebron, Ky./Conner): If Alabama wants Barker, it might be not be able to wait on him. The junior quarterback has seen his stock take off, and he already has offers from Cincinnati, Louisville and South Carolina among others. He’s also visited both Notre Dame and Ohio State during the last month. Barker first impressed Saban and the UA coaching staff at the Tide’s camp this summer, but there was no offer extended.
QB Brandon Dawkins (Westlake Village, Ca./Oaks Christian): Of all the quarterbacks on this list, Dawkins might be the most talented. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound signal caller already has an offer from Notre Dame, and he’s receiving plenty of interest from other elite programs. During the summer, he visited both Alabama and Tennessee. Although he didn’t get a chance to meet Saban, he enjoyed his time in Tuscaloosa and expects to go back.
QB Tyler Harris (Blackshear, Ga./Pierce County): Still waiting on his first scholarship offer, Harris is a name to keep an eye on in 2014. The ESPN Watch List quarterback already has interest from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia and South Carolina. He visited UA in September for the Tide’s home opener against Western Kentucky, and the Alabama coaches recently went over to see him.
QB Devlin Hodges (Kimberly, Ala./Mortimer Jordan): There’s no doubt where Hodges wants to go. He grew up an Alabama fan. He’s visited Tuscaloosa for nearly every home game this season. He just loves the Tide. However, it comes down to whether or not the staff wants to extend an offer. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound quarterback can hurt you with both his arm and his legs, and he just wrapped up an impressive junior season.
QB Wilton Speight (Richmond, Va./Collegiate School): Originally a 2013 recruit, Speight reclassified to the class of 2014 last February. At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, he has the size. Although he doesn’t have an offer yet, he’s heard from Cincinnati, Maryland, Mississippi State and USC among others. He visited Alabama in October for the Ole Miss game and ‘absolutely loved it.’ He’s expected to attend the Tide’s camp next summer and compete for an offer.
Other targets: Brooks Barden (Cartersville, Ga./Cartersville), Bear Fenimore (Austin, Texas/Westwood), A.J. Long (Lebanon, Tenn./Friendship Christian), Price Wilson (Marietta, Ga./Walton), Luke Ward (Decaturville, Tenn./Riverside)
Note: Ashville, Ala. quarterback E.J. Moss is not on this list because he’s expected to play linebacker if comes to Alabama.