TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama begins spring practice on March 11 with A-Day, the Tide's 15th and final practice, scheduled for 3 p.m. on April 16.
But before the Crimson Tide takes the field for its first workout, we'll break down each position group. First up, the quarterbacks as Alabama has an opening at the position for the third straight year.
Departed: Jake Coker, Alec Morris (transferred after graduating)
Ready for spring: Cooper Bateman, redshirt junior; David Cornwell, redshirt sophomore; Blake Barnett, redshirt freshman; Jalen Hurts, freshman.
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Coming in the summer/fall: None
Outlook: This is the most intriguing quarterback battle since AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims fought for the spot before the 2011 season.
For the last two years, Alabama returned a fifth-year senior who had been around the program (Blake Sims) or around a college program (Jake Coker) for at least four years prior to their lone season as the starter.
And even though both battles publicly dragged into the season, the older guy won out each time.
This is the first season where the position truly feels up for grabs. Like last spring, Alabama has all of its quarterbacks in camp for the competition.
A serious case could be made as for why Bateman, Cornwell or Barnett should be the starter. While talented, Hurts is a true freshman and no true freshman has taken a snap at quarterback during Nick Saban's tenure at Alabama.
For Bateman, his obvious advantage is experience. Bateman is the lone returner who has thrown a pass in a game at the collegiate level. He was in last year's competition all the way up to the Ole Miss game as he earned the start against the Rebels.
A costly interception led to Bateman being replaced by Coker, who held on to the job en route to winning a national championship.
In one start and seven appearances last year, Bateman completed 71.2 percent of his passes (37-of-52) for 291 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Based purely on game experience, Bateman could be considered the front runner.
Depending on who one talks to, Cornwell legitimately had a shot at winning the job coming out of last spring. But things changed between then and fall practice. When Saban released his depth chart, Cornwell checked in as the No. 5 quarterback. He didn't make any of the trips for true road games last season.
But that's all in the past, and Cornwell said he's excited to make another run at the job when he spoke with reporters at the Cotton Bowl.
He's spent two years on the scout team, and should have a good understanding of the playbook heading into his third season on campus. At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, Cornwell possesses the physical tools to win the job. He'll need to make sure he doesn't have any off-field issues during this competition.
Then there's Barnett, whom most believe to be the heir apparent. During his first year in Tuscaloosa, Barnett starred on the scout team and received high praise from former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and a lot of the players on the Tide's starting defense for his ability to give the unit a good look of the opponent.
Barnett, a former five-star prospect, is a dual-threat quarterback who could bring a true running threat to the position for the Tide. Barnett has put on some muscle during his time in the strength program. Now it's time to see how everything translates to the field heading to his second spring with the team.
All of these quarterbacks are talented enough to help Alabama win. But as it was in previous years, it'll be more about which player wins over the team in the long run.
-- Contact Anniston Star Sports Writer Marq Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter:@Marq_Burnett.