Alabama Football: Who Will Be the Next Great Tide QB Once AJ McCarron Leaves?

Ian BergCorrespondent IMarch 4, 2013

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 07:  AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after throwing a touchdown in the first quarter to Michael Williams #89 against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Alabama is heading into the 2013 season with a star signal-caller guiding the offense. Over the past two seasons, AJ McCarron has been one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC and already cemented his place as one of the best quarterbacks in school history.

After this season, McCarron will be gone and Alabama will be looking for its next star quarterback.

Enter Cooper Bateman: Bateman was a spring enrollee for the Tide and is set to take on his first spring practice March 16. He should pull a redshirt this fall, but he will get a lot of quality snaps during the spring.

The Tide already have a host of quarterbacks on campus in starter AJ McCarron, backups Blake Sims and Phillip Ely, along with spring additions Bateman and Parker McLeod.

There is quality depth with limited experience, so this quarterback competition for the Tide will be a tough one.

Still, Bateman has the skills that give him the leg-up in the competition.

Heading into the spring this coaching staff will want to separate the talent at quarterback and find one or two to focus on for the future. Bateman will be one of those if he can work out the freshman kinks.

Working on his drops will be one of the first moves made by the coaching staff this spring. Bateman is technically sound with footwork and his throwing motion, but playing primarily in a shotgun offense throughout high school he lacks the experience as a true drop-back passer.

Taking snaps from under center will be something new for Bateman, as will the rigors of the college level workout program. He is a lengthy player that has the frame to add some solid bulk over the next few years.

He will arrive at Alabama 6’3”, 195 pounds, but he would benefit from bulking up to the 220-230 pound range.

He is a methodical signal-caller who picks his throws wisely. He has enough velocity to squeeze the football into tight windows and he has the touch to drop the long ball in the stride of his receiver.

The Alabama offense loves to rely on the deep route off of the play-action, so having a quarterback that already can make those throws is huge.

At this point a redshirt season for Bateman will happen unless there is a major change, but he will be in the front of the pack heading into 2014 to be the Tide’s offensive leader.

Alabama will look to capitalize on Bateman's solid intangibles and groom another legend at the quarterback position in for the Crimson Tide.