Fall Camp Report – Quarterbacks
AJ McCarron – 6’4, 210 Senior: It’s been a fairly quiet off-season for AJ McCarron. AJ, by his own admission, simply spent his off-season doing the right things and staying out of the limelight. It’s been said that AJ spent quite a bit of time in the weight room over the summer and he’s certainly been leading the usual array of summer 7 on 7s so just think of him as the anti-Johnny Football. Saban and McCarron both hinted over the summer that the Tide offense will feature much more of the passing this season in an effort to take advantage of the vast array of skill players that surround the Bama O. With Nussmeier earning more of Saban’s trust and with AJ being a 5th year senior, it stands to reason that the passing game will be fun to watch this fall.
Alec Morris – 6’3, 225 Redshirt Freshman: It’s true that we at the Lighthouse have been a huge fan of Alec Morris since he arrived on campus. The big, strappin’ Texas gunslinger absolutely looks the part of a Saban quarterback and during A-Day he acted the part as well. Morris was very impressive during the game, throwing seeds to wide receivers 20+ yards down field and he showed the swagger you want to see in your signal caller. His ability to plant his back foot and fire the ball down field is what will elevate him to the #2 position should AJ miss any starts. We are pretty excited about Morris and feel he’s the next in line for the Bama QB position.
Blake Sims – 6’0, 212 Junior: Blake Sims seemed to use A-Day to remind us why he spent quite a bit of time at the running back position during the early part of his career. We’ll just say that throwing the football isn’t exactly his strength. Last season, Sims did excel at running the read option and his 6.2 yards per carry average was utilized to effectively grind out the fourth (and sometimes third) quarters of numerous games. But, while he’s an excellent change-up for the offense (which forces the opposing defenses to devote time to stopping him), with the ridiculous amount of receiving talent at the WR, TE and RB positions we just cannot see any way that Sims is the true #2 QB for the Tide offense this fall.
Cooper Bateman – 6’3, 200 True Freshman: Bateman, McLeod and Del Rio all arrived on campus in January and began what looks to be a two or three-year battle to see which of the three will emerge to be the next great Alabama quarterback (after Alec Morris, of course). Bateman entered spring as the more highly rated QB of the three but his A-Day performance and erratic accuracy he displayed during camp didn’t exactly separate him as some suspected. Barring a catastrophic number of injuries (which can happen – just ask Maryland about last season), Bateman should redshirt this season and focus on using his reps to stand out from McLeod and Del Rio.
Parker McLeod – 6’3, 190 True Freshman: Not much was known about McLeod as a QB since he spent his high school career at the helm of what was primarily a running attack. Additionally, he was injured during most of his senior season so there simply wasn’t a lot to know about Mr McLeod. Parker did excel in a couple of Alabama camps and he clearly threw well enough to earn himself an offer. He did show off a really nice arm when he completed the prettiest A-Day throw of the day on a 20 yard corner route. The transition from running QB to throwing QB will take time and we fully expect McLeod to take a redshirt this season.
Luke Del Rio – 6’2, 200 True Freshman: We’ve said this before and we’ll continue to say it until Bateman surges ahead of Del Rio in the QB competition – we LOVE Luke Del Rio. Del Rio, the son of NFL coach Jack Del Rio, actually out-performed Cooper Bateman at the Elite 11 camp and was in strong consideration for the camp MVP. Del Rio then moved to Colorado and led his new team to a 5A state championship, showing uncanny accuracy (70% completion rate) and the strong leadership you would expect from his NFL pedigree. As a three star QB, Del Rio spurned offers from Oklahoma State, Oregon State and others to WALK ON at Alabama. Love. This. Kid!
Newcomers: Bateman, McLeod and Del Rio were all early enrollees which allowed them to participate in the spring practices and A-Day. Each saw limited snaps during the game but Del Rio did look like the best of the three to our, admittedly, biased eyes. With 5 star David Cornwell coming in next season, 2014 will feature one heckuva battle between Morris, Bateman, McLeod, Del Rio and Cornwell. What a silly assortment of arms we have – perhaps the best collection of QB talent ever?
What we said in Spring: We said in our Spring QB Review (here) the depth at the QB position was silly and with the addition of Cornwell I guess you’d have to say it’s now sillier. We predicted that AJ would assault the Alabama single season and career record books and we continue to stand by that prediction – even Saban and McCarron themselves are telling us the passing game will be featured this season. So, sit back, pull your chair seats to the upright and locked position. Place your tray tables and seat backs in the upright position and get ready to take to the air this season!
Fall Camp Previews