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Chris Kamrani and Tom Wharton
Chris Kamrani and Tom Wharton write about all aspects of high school sports for the Tribune. Follow Chris Kamrani on Twitter at @chriskamrani.

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Former Cottonwood star Cooper Bateman competing for Alabama starting QB spot

Could Cooper Bateman be the heir to the Alabama quarterback position?

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It’s still extremely early and the former Cottonwood High star has months to prove himself, but the redshirt freshman at the University of Alabama is turning heads in spring ball down in Tuscaloosa, Ala. One of the top recruits in America in 2012, Bateman chose the vaunted Crimson Tide program after receiving more than 50 collegiate offers.

The 6-foot-3, 208-pound quarterback from Utah’s prep ranks took a redshirt year in 2013 and had time to study the game behind three-time BCS Champion A.J. McCarron.

Now, along with Blake Sims and Florida State transfer Jacob Coker, Bateman has positioned himself well in the five-man battle to perhaps succeed McCarron under center for arguably the most dominant college football program of the last decade.

In a report by Crimson Tide beat reporter Andrew Gribble of The Birmingham News on April 9, Gribble states Bateman and Sims have looked impressive early in spring practice in Tuscaloosa. (In the video above courtesy of AL.com, Bateman (18) and Sims (6) go through passing drills in a spring practice).

And Nick Saban is noticing.

"Cooper Bateman and Blake Sims have both done a nice job this spring and are improving," Saban told reporters last Tuesday in Mobile. "We want to continue to progress and when Jacob [Coker] comes in, give him every opportunity to see what he can do."

In Alabama’s first spring scrimmage on April 5, Bateman went 14-of-25 for 102 yards. On April 12, Bateman threw for 160 yards and a touchdown on 16-of-31 passing attempts as Saban noted, "Coop had another big day."

"I think all the other guys, they have their good days and their bad days," Saban said after Saturday’s second spring scrimmage. "I think they all need to work on their consistency. Cooper has probably got the most reps of any of the other guys, and he’s done some good things. But his consistency is what he really needs to work on."

As a starting quarterback at Cottonwood, Bateman threw for 68 touchdowns and 7,654 yards in his three years under center with the Colts. He was a consensus four-star prospect in 2012 and was ranked the No. 3 pocket passer by ESPN. Bateman arrived at Alabama as an early enrollee in Jan. 2013.

-Chris Kamrani

Twitter: @CKTribune

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