Four-star quarterback Travis Waller attended Oakland's Elite 11 and Nike Football Training Camp this weekend, and in addition to shining on the field, Waller received some exciting news on Saturday morning.
The Alabama Crimson Tide extended him an offer, and it's one he's pretty thrilled about.
“Oh it’s definitely a big offer; a powerhouse team like Alabama is really big," Waller said before Sunday's NFTC event. "[They run] a pro style offense, so that’s a plus for me. A lot of their quarterbacks tend to go to the NFL, and the NFL likes pro style offenses, so they’re definitely high on my list.”
Alabama is Waller's most recent offer, with California, Fresno State, Tennessee and Penn State also offering him in May, among other universities.
The Servite High (Anaheim, California) quarterback got the call from the Crimson Tide around 7 a.m. on Saturday, and though it was an early wake-up call, it was a welcome surprise, he said. Among other things, Waller learned a bit about what Alabama's plan for him would be, should he commit there.
“I think they would redshirt me," he said. "But the year after that I could compete for a starting job.”
And it's not so far-fetched to think Waller could see playing time after just one season in college, as he already is shaping up to be one of the top quarterbacks in his class.
After Friday's Elite 11, Waller earned a coveted gold shirt, and with it, a place in the Elite 11 finals. He showed quick feet and a strong pocket presence and connected with nearly all of his wide receivers. He's incredibly athletic, and though he's still filling out his frame, he proved that he can sling the rock like some of the bigger quarterbacks present.
On Sunday, Waller put on a similar show, but this time his targets were often shrouded in coverage. It didn't seem to phase him, however, and he had one of the strongest showings of all the quarterbacks present.
The dual-threat quarterback also got to show off a little bit of both facets of his game on Sunday, though he isn't too fond of that particular label.
“A lot of people consider me a dual-threat quarterback but I want to be known as a pocket passer that can run if he has to," Waller said. "I don’t really like the term ‘dual-threat’; it makes it seem like you’re just a running quarterback. I want to be known as a passing quarterback.”
Which is another reason why Alabama has such a strong appeal to the 6'3", 190-pound Waller.
While AJ McCarron showed a little bit of mobility throughout his Crimson Tide career, Alabama didn't sink or swim by how well he used his legs. Rather, Bama relied on him to be an accurate, powerful passer, and he delivered.
That said, McCarron took some shots this past offseason when he declared for the NFL draft, as many felt like the talent around him made the difference, not his quarterbacking. Waller doesn't see that as a reason to turn his attention away from the Tide.
"AJ McCarron is a very good quarterback. I believe if I go there and make things happen, the NFL would notice," he said.
Waller plans to visit Alabama in late June or early July.
He doesn't yet have a list of top schools, as he is still waiting on offers from programs such as Oregon and Ohio State. If and when those offers come, Waller will have a better sense of what his future college choices are looking like.
“Me and my mom are talking about it a lot but we will have to see how that plays out,” he said.
QB Travis Waller is an incredibly impressive prospect. #OhioState could be next to offer.— Adam Gorney (@adamgorney) May 18, 2014
No offer yet but Anaheim (CA) QB Travis Waller to visit #ohiostate at beginning of June. That will be a big stop in his recruitment.— Derek Young (@DYoungScout) May 19, 2014
Now that Alabama has offered, it's possible that the Ducks and the Buckeyes will start courting him more aggressively, as competing with Alabama for top talent is anything but easy.
There's no timetable yet on when he could make an announcement, so the summer will really start to heat up for Waller.
All quotes were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise stated.