TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama quarterback signee Cooper Bateman grew up in Utah but came South to play for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama's interest in him stems from offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who joined Nick Saban's staff after last season. He coached at Washington and knew about Bateman then.
"I absolutely love it," Bateman said Wednesday at Alabama's national signing day news conference. "I never even imagined Alabama would come up in this process at all. And when I pictured it before I picture it kind of just flat, old, kind of like Oklahoma, nothing around. We came here and it was green everywhere, rolling hills."
Bateman said he has taken to the state.
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"It says a lot about Alabama that a guy from Utah is willing to come this far because he fell in love with it that much," he said.
Helping recruit Liner
Incoming freshman O.J. Howard joked Wednesday he deserves some credit for recruiting Muscle Shoals defensive lineman Dee Liner to Alabama.
"I went to a lot of camps this summer so every camp I went to, I tried to get guys to come," Howard said. "Dee Liner is one of the biggest guys I think I had an impact on. Dee's my boy and he ended up coming here so I'm happy."
Back then, Liner was an Auburn commitment.
"He was trying to get me to come to Auburn for a long time and I was like, 'Man, lets go to Bama. They're winning championships. Lets just go up there and have fun together.' He eventually ended up coming," Howard said. "He saw the bigger picture, I guess, and he's coming this way."
Howard said he knew he had Howard headed to Tuscaloosa on Jan. 4 when the two played in the Under Armour All-American Game. Liner visited Alabama the following weekend, decommitted from Auburn and announced Wednesday he had picked the Crimson Tide.
Howard said it wasn't a big secret by Wednesday.
"He told everybody," Howard laughed. "He didn't really care."
Dropping some weight
Incoming offensive lineman Brandon Hill doesn't mind saying he's overweight. After all, it gives him a chance to talk about how much more overweight he used to be.
A signee out of Hargrave Military Academy, Hill enrolled in January with 406 pounds on his 6-foot-7 frame. He said he weighs 390 now and aims to be at 350 by the beginning of preseason practice in August.
Hill said it has helped to work with Tide strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran. In addition, he has received guidance from nutitionists at Alabama.
For example, he said he used to think sports drinks were good for him but was told they have sugar that adds weight.
"They said wait a minute, if you take water you'll be good," he said