Quarterback is the most important position on the football field, so you can never have too many options—especially at the college level.
Quarterback, in particular, is a significant position of interest in the state of Alabama, as both the Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers are starting to look ahead to the future.
Alabama will be looking to replace sensational senior AJ McCarron after this 2013 season, and Auburn is transitioning into a new offense now that Gus Malzahn is back and in charge. The future of each program's quarterback position is up in the air, but they aren't void of options.
Such is the beauty of recruiting, and that's what makes the race for 2014 4-star quarterback David Cornwell so important.
According to Andrew Bone of TideSports.com, Alabama has offered Cornwell, but it does come with a catch:
"I spoke with Coach Saban this morning," said Cornwell. "We talked. He asked if I had any questions. I asked him a few. He invited me to spring ball [scrimmage] on March 16.
"Coach Saban confirmed the offer he gave me at Junior Day. It's contingent on coming to summer camp. I think it is required for all quarterbacks."
Bone also reports that Cornwell is planning on visiting Auburn as well:
Cornwell returns to Tuscaloosa this month for a visit with the Tide. He also plans to return to Alabama April 6th for a visit. He is scheduled to visit Auburn that weekend and will make a stop by Alabama's campus.
It's worth noting that Alabama, Miami, Virginia Tech and UCLA (no offer) are all on top of Cornwell's 247Sports interest list, and he does have an offer from Auburn as well. He projects to be a big-time quarterback at the college level, so he'd be a major recruit for either Alabama program to land.
Cornwell has tremendous size at 6'5'', 230 pounds, and he's ranked as the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the 2014 class, according to the 247Sports Composite. He's also ranked as the No. 1 recruit from Oklahoma, and he's from Norman, Oklahoma (he does not have an offer from the Sooners).
It really seems as if Alabama could have the unofficial edge for Cornwell, considering that he's been to their junior day, and according to Bone's report, he should be on campus at least two more times unofficially.
How does Cornwell fit in at Alabama?
Once McCarron leaves, Blake Sims could get the nod at starter, but I wouldn't count out 2014 4-star quarterback recruit Cooper Bateman either. Cornwell could go to Alabama and put himself in position to at least compete if either Sims or Bateman doesn't work out, and he'll be good enough to challenge both players. Once Sims moves on, Cornwell could challenge Bateman for the featured role at quarterback.
There's a lot to look forward to if Cornwell does choose Alabama, and that's including the possibility to compete for national championships. I wouldn't be surprised if Cornwell's interest in Alabama continues to grow throughout the spring and into next season.
Auburn went out in 2013 and signed 4-star quarterback Jeremy Johnson, who I believe is the future of the Tigers' program at quarterback. He's 6'5'', 215 pounds, and he was ranked as the No. 11 pro-style quarterback in the 2014 class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Johnson has a strong arm, and he displays good pocket presence, mobility and accuracy.
He'll compete with Jonathan Wallace and Kiehl Frazier for the starting job as a freshman, and he has the talent to win that competition. Even if he doesn't start as a freshman, he seems to be the future of the program at quarterback.
In regards to Cornwell, I can see how Auburn would be an interesting option if he feels he can compete with Johnson. Malzahn's offense and the chance to put up a ton of numbers will end up being a draw.
Don't count the Tigers out of this recruiting race just yet, but they are more of a long-term player here. If Johnson plays as a freshman and struggles, perhaps Cornwell will see the opportunity at Auburn, and then the Tigers can make a strong push.
That said, I don't see Johnson struggling to that degree, so for all intents and purposes Auburn should be set at quarterback.
Can Auburn beat Alabama for Cornwell (or Miami, Virginia Tech and UCLA, for that matter)?
The answer to that question is undoubtedly yes. Malzahn has proven himself to be a top-notch recruiter, and he'll have the Tigers program back in SEC contention in no time.
Auburn can definitely be a player in this recruiting race, but the kicker is, the Tigers may not need to be.
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