Another year of finding a leader at quarterback will be Alabama’s mission this spring; however, the competition takes on a different incentive.
All four signal callers on the Crimson Tide’s roster– Blake Barnett, David Cornwell, Cooper Bateman and Jalen Hurts– are young and will be special for more than just one season.
Barnett, a native of Corona, Calif., is projected to be the starter in 2016.
He has added on some weight to his 6-foot-5 frame, putting him at 208 pounds (180 coming in). Barnett recorded a touchdown pass in Alabama’s 2015 spring game and excelled on scout team in the fall, emulating elite quarterbacks.
He was the top-rated pocket passer according to ESPN’s recruiting site and No. 1 dual-threat quarterback per Rivals. Despite him being immensely talented, there is another individual that will push him deep into fall camp, Jalen Hurts.
Hurts, like Barnett, enrolled early. The four-star quarterback was a marquee sign to Alabama’s 2016 recruiting class, a unit that finished ranked No. 1 by Rivals, Scout and 247 Sports.
Hurts, 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, hails from Channelview, Texas. He was listed as the No. 1 dual threat quarterback in Texas by ESPN and the nation’s top-ranked dual threat signal-caller per 247 Sports. He totaled 2,384 passing yards in 11 games at Channelview High School in 2015.
Hurts added 26 touchdowns passes and a career-high 1,391 rushing yards with 25 scores. He made Texas District 21-6A MVP in 2014 and 2015. Regardless of Kevin Sumlin’s desire to have him at Texas A&M, Hurts chose Alabama over Mississippi State, Florida and the Aggies.
He participated in the Crimson Tide’s national championship preparation for Clemson. Hurts provided the first-team defense with a good simulation of Clemson’s Deshaun Watson.
Hurts perfectly fits the offensive scheme that Lane Kiffin ran with Blake Sims in 2014.
Alabama returns a stacked roster at wide receiver, headlined by Calvin Ridley and ArDarius Stewart. A solid quarterback mixed with this group of receivers and a strong offensive line gives the Crimson Tide an opportunity to repeat as national champions next season. All four quarterbacks on the roster possess mobility and despite Barnett being the favorite, watch for Hurts during spring ball, summer camp and fall practice.