Friday, January 4, 2013
Introducing the class: Cooper Bateman
By Greg Ostendorf
Editor's note: This is a series introducing Alabama's 2013 recruiting class that will run through signing day.
Cooper Bateman didn't follow Alabama growing up, but knew Tuscaloosa was the place for him the instant he visited.
Alabama needed to make a big splash at quarterback in this class after missing out the last two years, and although the staff had to go all the way to Utah to do it, they got their man in Cooper Bateman, an ESPN 150 recruit and the nation’s No. 6 pocket passer. Bateman is one of three signal callers set to arrive on campus in January, but he’s the most heralded of the three. He will play in the Under Armour All-America Game on Friday night.
Q: What made you commit to Alabama?
A: I wasn’t a fan of Alabama or the SEC at all, but once I got there and saw it in person, I fell in love with the conference, the South and especially Alabama.
Q: What’s life been like since your commitment?
A: Honestly, things have kind of mellowed down. Before I made my decision, that’s when all the phone calls were (made), and after it was done, that’s when it started to wind down a little bit. I was on Twitter, and then I deleted that. I heard from everyone, and it’s just a distraction that you don’t need.
Q: When did you first meet Coach Saban? What was that like?
A: I met him during spring ball in April, and you’re sitting there talking to him face-to-face, an it doesn’t really hit you that you’re talking to Nick Saban. What an honor it was and what a presence he is.
Q: What’s your favorite Alabama memory to this point?
A: I have to say it was the first time I stepped on the field. We checked out the locker room and everything, and we walked down the hallway with the Alabama Crimson Tide banners, but stepping through those doors and walking out through the goalposts, it was pretty cool.
Q: What’s your goal when you get to Alabama?
A: Just to come in there and forget about -- not the past -- but forget about home. You don’t need to be homesick. You don’t need any distractions like that. You just need to focus on what you’re there for.
Q: Do you have a favorite play or memory from high school?
A: There was nothing from this past season that was good, so going back to junior year to that play (a 78-yard touchdown pass), definitely. It was our homecoming game, too, the last play of the game. That’s definitely a big memory.
Favorite food: Pasta (Italian food)
Dream car: A nice Jeep. I like the car I have right now (Nissan Xterra).
Number at Alabama: 18
Favorite NFL player: Peyton Manning
Dream vacation: Tahiti
Music before a game: I keep it mellow, mellow mellow -- Taylor Swift.
ESPN.com Southeast recruiting reporter Derek Tyson contributed to this report.