A former Alabama quarterback has landed in the Pac-12. And he’ll reportedly play a different position.
Cooper Bateman, who served as Alabama’s No. 2 quarterback throughout the 2016 season, has enrolled as a student at the University of Utah. Bateman, a native of the Salt Lake City area, is “expected to join” the Utes as a walk-on receiver for spring practice, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Update on Cooper Bateman: Utah sees him as a wide receiver in its program. Not expected to compete for QB job this fall.
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) January 27, 2017
Bateman was a favorite to land the Alabama’s starting role entering preseason camp, but ended up falling behind both Jalen Hurts and Blake Barnett on the depth chart. Barnett, a redshirt freshman, started the opener against USC, but Hurts, a true freshman outplayed him in that game and started the rest of the year. Barnett decided to transfer in September (and has since landed at Arizona State), moving Bateman up to No. 2 on the depth chart.
Bateman saw limited snaps at quarterback throughout the year, mainly in garbage time. Overall, he played in 13 games and completed 12-of-14 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. He was granted his release in December, but stayed with the team through its run in the College Football Playoff.
Bateman was the top player from Utah in the 2013 recruiting class, but was buried on the depth chart for much of his career with the Tide. Over his four years at Alabama, he threw for 410 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while completing 74 percent of his throws.
Bateman did take some reps at receiver for the Tide back in 2015. When asked about the position switch, Nick Saban said Bateman was one of the better athletes on the team.
“You know, he had really good measurables when we tested everybody. If we just rated the top 50 athletes on our team, he’d probably be one of them. So now is the time to find out if he could contribute at another position,” Saban said in April 2015.
Bateman, who has one year of eligibility remaining, joining the Utes as a quarterback would have added an interesting wrinkle to what should be a contested quarterback battle heading into 2017. Troy Williams, the 2016 starter, returns, but rising sophomore Tyler Huntley has impressed. With new offensive coordinator Troy Taylor in the fold from Eastern Washington, the Utes are expected to have an open competition at QB.
With Bateman landing at Utah, all three quarterbacks to transfer from Alabama have found new schools. Barnett signed with Arizona State and while David Cornwell announced earlier this month he would finish his career at Nevada.
For more Utah news, visit Utezone.com.
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