Alabama Team News

Former Alabama QB Cooper Bateman enrolls at Utah, expected to walk-on

Cooper Bateman
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports

Former Alabama quarterback Cooper Bateman has enrolled at Utah for his final season of eligibility.

Scott Garrard of Salt Lake City’s 1280 The Zone first pointed out Thursday that Bateman’s name comes up in a University of Utah student directory search.

While Bateman’s not currently on the football team and hasn’t made a decision, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that the Utes have offered him an opportunity to walk on as a wide receiver.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Bateman, a Salt Lake City native and former four-star recruit, spent the past four seasons as a quarterback at Alabama. He briefly experimented at wide receiver during spring practice in 2015.

After redshirting as a freshman in 2012, Bateman was a reserve behind senior starters Blake Sims and Jake Coker in 2014 and 2015, the latter of which he served as the team’s primary backup.

In 2016, Bateman, who coach Nick Saban said was the favorite to win Alabama’s starting job near the end of spring practice, was ultimately beaten out by true freshman Jalen Hurts. Redshirt freshman Blake Barnett also was ahead of Bateman on the depth chart before he transferred from the school in late September.

Days before the season opener against USC, Saban announced that the quarterback competition was down to Bateman and Barnett, but Bateman didn’t appear until late in the game at quarterback after Barnett started and Hurts also saw meaningful reps.

Bateman was first reported to be transferring in December following Alabama’s SEC championship victory over Florida. He remained with the team, however, through the Crimson Tide’s College Football Playoff run.

Quarterback David Cornwell, who was one spot behind Bateman on the depth chart, announced the same not long afterward and has since transferred to Nevada for his final two seasons of eligibility.

In addition to his role as backup quarterback, Bateman also served as the team’s holder for the past three seasons.

Overall, Bateman completed 49 of 66 passes for 410 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions during his Alabama career. The lone start of his career came in the Crimson Tide’s 2015 loss to Ole Miss when he was still engaged in a quarterback competition with Coker.

At Utah, which went 9-4 last season, Bateman would be competing at quarterback with returning starter Troy Williams, who will be a senior this fall. The Utes, though, hired new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Troy Taylor this offseason, which could boost Bateman’s chances.

Of note, Bateman’s former teammates at Cottonwood, tight end Siale Fakailoatonga and center Lo Falemaka, are projected starters next season.

Utah began its spring semester on Jan. 9, the day of the Crimson Tide’s national championship game loss to Clemson.

With Cornwell, Bateman and Barnett’s departures, Hurts will be Alabama’s lone returning scholarship quarterback on its roster. Four-star dual-threat quarterback Tua Tagovailoa enrolled early along with 11 others earlier this month.

On National Signing Day on Feb. 1, Alabama also is expected to officially add four-star pro-style quarterback Mac Jones.

Last week, walk-on running back Derrick Gore transferred to Louisiana-Monroe after two seasons at Alabama.

(You can follow Kevin Connell on Twitter @_KevinConnell)

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