The University of Alabama needed to make a splash at the quarterback position in this year’s recruiting class after missing out on its top targets in each of the last two years.
Enter Doug Nussmeier.
The first-year offensive coordinator arrived in January and wasted no time looking for his quarterback of the future. Because of his ties to Washington, he nearly helped the Crimson Tide reel in a commitment from Max Browne, the nation’s No. 2 signal caller, who ended up choosing USC.
However, Nussmeier was also the first UA coach to reach out to ESPN 150 quarterback Cooper Bateman, and this time, his efforts paid off. The Utah pocket passer committed to Alabama in May and cited the Tide’s new offensive coordinator as the main reason behind his decision.
“Really, he was the only thing from Alabama,” Bateman said. “He was the one who recruited me from there, and he was one of the biggest reasons why I went there, him as as person and him as a coach.
“The way he recruited me was different than everybody else. He wasn’t trying to overdo anything. He wasn’t trying to elaborate anything. He laid things down as true as they could be. He didn’t lay out the red carpet, and I appreciated that.”
Bateman worked with Nussmeier when he visited Tuscaloosa in June for the Tide’s first summer prospect camp, but it’s the relationship the two are building off the field that made him feel comfortable enough to choose Alabama despite the long distance from home.
“That’s something I look for in a quarterback coach, not necessarily a friend off the field, but someone you can talk to, and that’s definitely Coach Nussmeier,” Bateman said.
When backup quarterback Phillip Sims transferred at the conclusion of spring practice, the UA coaching staff realized it wanted to take not one, but two quarterbacks in this class.
It’s never easy to convince a recruit to come to a school when they already have a commitment from a player who is ranked higher at the same position, but Nussmeier was instrumental in helping lure Marietta, Ga./Walton High School quarterback Parker McLeod to Alabama.
“I really like him,” McLeod said. “He definitely had an impact on my decision. I really felt comfortable with him being my coach for the next couple of years. It’s a big plus. I just like his coaching style and how he works his quarterbacks. I’m really looking forward to getting the chance to work with him.”
In less than six months on the job, Nussmeier had attracted two top quarterbacks to Alabama, a position where the Tide had struggled recruiting in years’ past.
The first week he arrived on campus, he also made it a point to develop a relationship with ESPN 150 tight end O.J. Howard, the Tide’s top offensive recruit. Howard had some doubts about Alabama and the way he was going to be used in the offense, but Nussmeier put those to rest.
“He’s one of those guys who everybody likes,” Howard said. “He’s a cool, cool guy. He’s one of the coolest coaches up there at Alabama. Every recruit likes him. He’s always a fun guy to joke around with, and he also gets stuff done. He knows how to coach.”
Alabama has yet to see what Nussmeier can do on the field, calling plays, but if his work off the field, on the recruiting trail, is any indication, the offense should be in good hands going forward.