With the official start of the Alabama quarterback battle, spring practice, approaching, we’ll individually break down the candidates currently on the roster to give fans an idea of what to expect and what to watch for. Up first: freshman and early enrollee David Cornwell.
All recruiting information and statistics come courtesy of 247Sports.
David Cornwell hasn’t exactly flown under the radar, even though he’s only been taking classes at Alabama for a little more than two weeks now.
His Twitter account is filled with messages to his new teammates and potential new ones. He’s kept fans updated on his rehab from knee surgery with photos and videos. That outgoing attitude may help him as he enters Alabama’s quarterback competition as a talented, but inexperienced quarterback.
The biggest question mark for Cornwell will be how he bounces back from a knee injury that cut his senior season short.
A 4-star prospect and the top recruit out of Oklahoma, Cornwell brought a lot of hype with him into his senior season. He threw for 2,742 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior and committed to Alabama later in June.
His size, arm strength and mobility stood out to college coaches, as he held offers from schools like Arkansas, Auburn, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Miami and Notre Dame.
According to al.com’s Matt Scalici, Cornwell received an extra year of eligibility in high school due to family hardships and essentially played a second senior season of high school football.
But a knee injury ended his season five games into his final year.
Cornwell enrolled at Alabama in January, and by all accounts his rehab is going well. He posted this video to Instagram that shows him moving well and throwing on the run. Cornwell told Scalici that he expects to be healthy by spring practice.
It’s unclear exactly how coach Nick Saban will handle the quarterback battle—whether everyone will get equal first-team reps, who gets more than others, how many game-like situations they’ll be faced with. But Cornwell being healthy by spring is crucial for him.
What will hold Cornwell back are his inexperience and chemistry with teammates, who have at least been around the other four quarterbacks on the roster. Cornwell will be playing catch-up with the playbook while getting to know his potential future weapons and protectors.
Still, the future appears bright for Cornwell, even if he doesn’t win the job this year. All but one of Alabama’s current quarterbacks have redshirted and Cornwell could do the same if he doesn’t win the job. That would still give him potentially five seasons with Alabama, some of which could be as a starter.
It seems to be a long shot that the meticulous and control-freak Saban would entrust his offense to a freshman. Regardless, Cornwell will inject youth and energy into the quarterback battle, and if he bounces back from a knee injury and plays to his potential, anything could happen.