SEC Football Q&A: Alabama's Crowded QB Race, Max Wittek and Malachi Dupre

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterJanuary 31, 2014

Alabama QB Cooper Bateman
Alabama QB Cooper BatemanKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Every Friday, SEC lead writer Barrett Sallee features questions from followers on Twitter.

You have SEC questions, and I have SEC answers. Thank you for your questions. If I didn't get to them this week, they will be saved and used in the future.

And we're off! 

@BarrettSallee With Coker committing to 'Bama today. Do you see Cooper Bateman transferring?

— A.J. Austin (@age_austin) January 27, 2014

I think it's premature to consider that as a possibility at this point.

When Cooper Bateman signed in the class of 2013 and enrolled early, he already knew that he'd redshirt while then-rising senior quarterback AJ McCarron exhausted his eligibility during the 2013 season. The former 4-star quarterback and No. 5 pro-style quarterback in the 2013 class hasn't had a chance to win the job yet or even really battle for it.

Alabama QB Cooper Bateman
Alabama QB Cooper BatemanKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

He'll get that chance this spring without Jacob Coker in the mix, as Coker finishes up his degree at Florida State before transferring to Alabama. His primary competition for the job is probably rising senior Blake Sims or true freshman early enrollee David Cornwell, but Cornwell tore his ACL in the fall and even if he participates during spring—which is likely—he might not be 100 percent just yet.

There's a pretty good chance that Bateman will exit spring practice as the leader in the clubhouse. If that's the case, I can't imagine why he'd leave. 

Coker's transfer to Alabama is nice, but it's being made out to be a potential game-changer. For the life of me, I can't figure out why. Sure, the 6'5", 230-pounder has the size to be a star and, judging from the limited action we've seen of him in games, has a big arm. But a lot of his reputation seems to stem from reports from closed practices in Tallahassee.

If Coker wins the job and shines, he may leave early giving Bateman three years as the starter. If he stays, he'd still have two. Or—best case scenario for Bateman—he wins the job in fall camp and has up to four.


@BarrettSallee Any chance Wittek heads to LSU? Or does Jennings, Harris, and Rivers have the job locked down?

— John Balas⚾️ (@johnbalas31) January 30, 2014

Speaking of two-year graduate transfers, former USC quarterback Max Wittek is now on the market, according to Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times.

Former USC QB Max Wittek
Former USC QB Max WittekChris Carlson/Associated Press

I don't see the point though.

Sure, Anthony Jennings didn't look great in his first career start in the Outback Bowl versus Iowa, but he's going to go into spring practice as the front-runner for the starting job in 2014. If it's not Jennings, early enrollee Brandon Harris will get plenty of looks and could spring the upset if he performs well.

LSU brought each of those guys in to compete for the job, and I'm not sure why they would consider bringing in a quarterback who has twice as many career interceptions (six) than touchdown passes (three). 

I'm not sure why Wittek would want to step into that situation either. Unlike Coker who grew up in Mobile, Ala. and as an Alabama fan, Wittek is from Newport Beach, Calif. and never even considered LSU out of high school. 

It just doesn't seem like a fit to me.


@barrettsallee Barrett ware will malachi dupre end up signing at on signing day?

— Andre Lawson (@Drexlaws) January 30, 2014

Recruiting is difficult to predict at times, but I'll say that Malachi Dupre will stay in-state and sign with the LSU Tigers. 

That's where the 247Sports crystal ball sees the 6'2.5" 187-pounder from John Curtis Christian High School in New Orleans, La., headed to. Even though he's taken trips to Alabama and Ole Miss recently, and UCLA during the final weekend before national signing day, I just don't see head coach Les Miles letting him escape the Louisiana border.

That doesn't mean it will be without intrigue. Dupre tweeted that he was impressed with the love shown to him by Ole Miss last week, and the Bruins will certainly put the press on this weekend.

Well Ole Miss was fun and the luvv was soo real 😏

— Malachi Dupre (@MalachiDupre) January 30, 2014

If he winds up in Baton Rouge, he'll be in perfect position to be a star right away. With Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr. gone, there's playing time available at wide receiver for the Tigers.


Do you have a question for next week's Q&A? Send it to SEC lead writer Barrett Sallee via Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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