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UA moves up for top 2013 QB after visit

4/15/2012
2013 QB prospect Riley Ferguson (above) visited UA and struck up a friendship with AJ McCarron. Tom Hauck for ESPN.com

If the University of Alabama is looking for the next AJ McCarron, it may have found its guy in ESPN 150 Watch List signal caller Riley Ferguson.

The North Carolina native reminds people of McCarron with the way he throws. The two wear the same number, and over the weekend, Ferguson found out that the two share similar personalities when he had dinner with McCarron during his visit to Tuscaloosa.

“That was great,” Ferguson said. “People say me and him are a lot alike in terms of our personalities, how he plays football, how we wear the same number and stuff like that. I got along with him great. He’s like a big brother to me now that I’ve gotten to know him. It felt like we knew each other for a long time, but that’s really the first time I met him. It was a lot of fun.”

Ferguson was in town for A-Day, the Crimson Tide’s annual spring game. It was his first time visiting Alabama’s campus, and he got a full tour of the university, including the facilities and the academic complex, on Friday before attending the game on Saturday.

During his visit, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound quarterback also met with UA head coach Nick Saban and new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. He even sat through the pre-game meetings where Nussmeier addressed the quarterbacks.

“With Coach Nuss, we were just talking about Alabama and the things he’s done in his past,” Ferguson said. “He was talking about what they’re going to do at Alabama this year. When I sat in the meeting with him, he was letting me get a feel for how he coaches.”

Saturday’s game put the Tide’s aerial attack on full display and could be a glimpse of what’s in store under Nussmeier. Ferguson was most impressed with McCarron, his newest friend and UA’s first-team quarterback.

“I was watching AJ the whole time,” Ferguson said. “I see a lot of myself in him. I liked what he was doing, and Coach Nuss is throwing the ball a lot more. During the spring game, they threw a pretty good number of times. I like that.”

After the visit, Ferguson, who currently holds 11 scholarship offers, considers the Crimson Tide as one of his early favorites.

“Alabama is definitely close to the top in my recruiting,” he said. “When I was there, they treated me very well. I liked everything that I saw there, and it felt good when I was there, so it’s put them up there at the top.”

Like every other quarterback who Alabama targets, Ferguson has to come back to Tuscaloosa and throw in front of Saban before he can commit. However, he’s already talking about coming back in June to throw for Saban and work one-on-one with Nussmeier.

“I’m planning on going in there and throwing good enough to where I impress Saban, and I’m open to commit if I want to,” Ferguson said. “If I feel that’s the right school for me, I hope that I can do that.”