Alabama gets top QB commit

The rich got much richer last Friday when No. 1 pocket-passing quarterback David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./Norman North) committed to Alabama.

The No. 24 player in the ESPN 150 had a laundry list of offers to pick from, but after meeting with Alabama coach Nick Saban, he decided that Tuscaloosa was the place for him.

"I had a lot of contemplation and the meeting with Coach Saban went 10 times better than I thought it would," Cornwell said. "We were in his office and talked about everything. I told him, 'I'm ready to wrap this up if you are.'

"We went down the hall and the other coaches were dancing and were happy. I was really happy."

And they should have been very happy. If Cornwell is anything like he's been in high school, Alabama should have a lot of fun with him under center. He's big (6-foot-5, 235 pounds), has quite the arm and can evade defenders with his feet. As a junior, he threw for more than 2,700 yards and 27 touchdowns to six interceptions.

As long as Saban is in charge at Alabama, the Crimson Tide will be known as a pound-the-ground machine, but he's certainly smart enough to know that it helps having a substantial quarterback to make things work in a league like the SEC.

AJ McCarron is easily the most talented and gifted quarterback he's worked with at the college level since he had JaMarcus Russell at LSU. While McCarron hasn't been asked to do a ton, he's helped Alabama slowly shift toward a more downfield passing game at times. He has the arm to do it and the smarts not to force the bad pass anymore. He had an issue with forcing passes early in his career, but really improved in that area last year, throwing 30 touchdowns to three interceptions. McCarron has turned into more than just a game manager for Saban.

ESPN recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill says that Cornwell, who became Alabama's 11th verbal commit in its 2014 recruiting class, will immediately give the Tide an upgrade at the quarterback position when he arrives. Luginbill writes that Cornwell's "deceptive athleticism" is what sets him apart from any of the quarterbacks currently on Alabama's roster. His scrambling ability should help him extend plays unlike any of Saban's Alabama quarterbacks before.

Sure, Alabama will continue to be a running back-first kind of team, but if Cornwell gets on campus with the same mindset has he's had during his high school days, he could really make this offense go.


Not to be outdone when it came to all this quarterback fun was Georgia. The Bulldogs' staff got its man on Friday as well when Elite 11 member Jacob Park (Goose Creek, S.C./Stratford) committed just before Cornwell went public.

Park put on a show for both Alabama's and Georgia's staffs and picked the Bulldogs over the Tide. Park, who is the No. 8 dual-threat quarterback by ESPN's RecruitingNation, threw for 2,700 yards, ran for another 500 yards and totaled 29 touchdowns as a junior.

He'll arrive in Athens to face a very crowded backfield, and he'll likely really get his best shot at seeing the field in 2015 when Hutson Mason is gone. He'll likely still have Christian LeMay, Faton Bauta and Brice Ramsey to compete with, but Georgia's staff wouldn't have taken his commitment if it didn't think he could hold his own against those guys.