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Alabama’s Quarterback Competition

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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As quarterbacks from all over the country compete for perhaps the game's most high-profile starting job, the goal remains the same; begin the season atop the depth chart, finish it in Glendale, Arizona.

Alabama has become the nation's premier recruiting power. Nick Saban searches coast-to-coast for the nation's top prospects, filling the Crimson Tide roster with hand-picked, top-tier talent. That ability will be on clear display in this spring's quarterback battle; the program's five scholarship quarterbacks are from five different states.

Signal callers Blake Barnett, Cooper Bateman, Jake Coker, David Cornwell and Alec Morris are from California, Utah, Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas, respectively.

Senior Coker, perhaps the front-runner to replace Georgia-native Blake Sims, came to Tuscaloosa from Mobile, through Florida State. Interestingly enough, Coker followed program-great A.J. McCarron at St. Paul's Episcopal. After three years in Tallahassee, Coker transferred to Alabama and threw for 403 yards and four touchdowns in a reserve role in 2014. Many feel like the starting job is his to lose, given his experience and considerable physical skills. Coker has been groomed by quarterback gurus Jimbo Fisher and Lane Kiffin.

Bateman hails from Utah, where he was one of the most accomplished prep players in state history. He was arguably the most impressive passer in last spring's "A-Day" game. A redshirt sophomore, Bateman was an early enrollee in January of 2013, meaning this spring will be his third on the capstone.

An Oklahoma-native, Cornwell was slotted as one of the nation's top recruits despite missing the second half of his senior year at Norman North. Cornwell was a spring participant last pre-season and redshirted in 2014. He is built similarly to Coker, looking the part at 6'5'', 240 pounds.    

Even as a true freshman, Barnett, already on campus, will figure into the mix. Ranked by most as the top quarterback prospect in the nation, the 6'5'' talent came all of the way from California to the Yellowhammer State. It's rare than any true freshman starts from day one at Alabama, but Barnett is considered to be a contender.

The lone upperclassman quarterback on the roster alongside Coker, Morris has plenty of program familiarity as a redshirt junior. He has served as the team's back-up punter, in addition to his work as a signal caller. Though Morris has not yet attempted a college pass, he has seen live game action. Hailing from the state of Texas, Morris might be the darkhorse in the race to replace Sims.

Saban and the Crimson Tide have options at football's most important position. What Alabama also has are expectations that don't change. As quarterbacks from all over the country compete for perhaps the game's most high-profile starting job, the goal remains the same; begin the season atop the depth chart, finish it in Glendale, Arizona.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports