High School Sports

Alabama football: Tide to add three incoming freshmen to quarterback corps

Alabama will inherit an glut of players at quarterback this spring, including three incoming freshmen.

The Crimson Tide will sign Cooper Bateman of Sandy, Utah, and Parker McLeod of Marietta, Ga., giving the program six scholarship quarterbacks. In addition, Luke Del Rio of Littleton, Colo., will walk on.

All three newcomers already are enrolled at Alabama and will go through spring practice with the four returning quarterbacks: senior-to-be AJ McCarron, junior Blake Sims, sophomore Phillip Ely and redshirt freshman Alec Morris.

"It seems crazy to me that you need six scholarship quarterbacks when you don't need a quarterback to play at Alabama, you just turn around and pitch it to the tailback," said Greg Croshaw, who coached Bateman in his senior season at Cottonwood High.

The crowd brings with it a healthy dose of competition to keep potential quarterbacks for the Crimson Tide aware of the backup.

"Parker's a very smart kid, he understands numbers very well," said Rocky Hidalgo, McLeod's coach at Walton High. "He understands those things, but he's a competitor. He won't shy away from those things."

The competition to decide McCarron's backup could be especially intense given the players Alabama has added at the position.

"A lot of the things (McLeod) is great at are not the things that are going to show up on film or what the every day fans notice, but what coaches notice," Hidalgo said. "The way he stands in the pocket. He's an excellent decision-maker. I think that's what attracted Alabama to him."

Bateman is rated a four-star prospect by Rivals, while McLeod, who led Walton to the Georgia AAAAA state finals as a junior, was given three stars.

Croshaw added about Bateman, "Can he do it? Sure. You don't recruit a guy who you don't think can do it for you."

At the moment, it seems likely Bateman, McLeod and Del Rio will redshirt their first season, especially considering all four returning quarterbacks have used their redshirt year.

"It's my understanding that (Bateman) will go through this spring and redshirt and see where he stands with the other guys at that point," Croshaw said.

Added Hidalgo about McLeod: "I think he wants to get in somewhere for a year and work and learn. Playing time is great, but his ultimate goal is to improve and max out his potential and his talent. I think he's looking forward to sitting for a season and learn and watch what's going on as opposed to being thrown in somewhere."

The one year off could build on existing talents, as it did for McCarron. From there, it could lead to more.

"I expect one day (McLeod) will be out there leading the team," Hidalgo said.