Bateman talks BYU

Utah's top quarterback Cooper Bateman recently received his sixth offer. The four-star Cottonwood High School quarterback is considered one of the best in the West and even the nation for the class of 2013. With "Quarterback University" - BYU - having offered, Bateman is taking a serious look at the Cougar program and all that it has to offer.

Now that the prep season has ended, college coaches are hitting the recruiting trail, and that means Cottonwood High School's Cooper Bateman is currently right in the thick of it all.

"Recruiting is starting up again, and our season didn't go as far as we would have liked it to," Bateman said. "Last Thursday I was offered by Purdue and that's my sixth offer now. I'm talking to a lot of schools and shooting a lot of mail. We'll see how it goes."

Bateman has offers from Utah, Utah State, Maryland and Boise State, in addition to his offers from Purdue and BYU.

During the month of November, Bateman visited Boise State.

"I loved it," Bateman said. "We went up there probably about a month ago when they played TCU ... Like I said, we loved it up there. We drove up and met all the coaches and they're awesome and we enjoyed our time up there."

Boise State is looking for the next quarterback to follow in the footsteps of Jared Zabranski and Kellen Moore. Moore just became the all-time winningest quarterback in Division I history.

"Yeah, that was amazing [for him to accomplish that feat]," Bateman said. "Not taking anything away from him, but a lot of that success comes from the coaches, the type of offense they run and players within the program that surround him."

While on the Bronco campus, Bateman had the chance to talk to Moore. Talking to quarterbacks is something Bateman has done quite a bit of during the recruiting process.

"We talked a lot about how my season went," Bateman said. "We talked a little bit from his point of view about when he was being recruited there. We also talked about Utah because Kellen Moore's wife is LDS. He isn't, but she is and she went to BYU. We talked a little bit about how his wife went there. I don't know if she graduated there, but I do know that she went to BYU. We thought that was funny."

On BYU's scholarship offer

The two quarterbacks joked about the irony of it all.

"It was kind of funny because of the fact that Kellen Moore married an LDS girl but didn't go to BYU, and I have a scholarship to BYU and I'm not LDS. We joked back and forth about that."

Although Bateman isn't LDS, he holds his offer from BYU in high esteem.

> "Oh, to have a scholarship from BYU is such an honor," Bateman said. "The tradition and legacy that BYU has at the quarterback position there is unreal, and to even be considered a part of that legacy is so unreal for me and such an honor.

"Also, the fact that I'm not LDS and they offered me is something big. That's something that doesn't happen a lot there, so, you know, I take a lot of honor in that. BYU does things a little differently and they just don't hand out offers like other schools do.

"They definitely do take the time to evaluate you as a football player, but their biggest priority in the program is the development of both the player and the person. What it comes down to is that family background, so that quality of that person is something they look at and look to further develop."

As Bateman mentioned, the recruiting process at BYU is unique.

"Yeah, you know that when you get a scholarship from BYU that you're more than just a great athlete," Bateman said. "While great athletes can play anywhere else, they might not be able to play at BYU. The fact that they bring in top athletes who are also living a higher standard and can meet the high academics of BYU … those are the kind of people that you'll be surrounding yourself with when you spend four to five years there. It's something that I'm definitely looking at."

On past non-LDS BYU gunslingers

Some of great BYU gunslingers of the past have been of other faiths. This includes quarterbacks such Ty Detmer (an eventual convert), Steve Sarkisian and Jim McMahon.

"Jim McMahon was Catholic, like me, and was from Utah," said Bateman.

Of course, BYU has other players that are non-LDS as well.

"I've talked with J.J. Di Luigi and he's Catholic and from California too. The fact that a majority of BYU's football team is LDS does not play into any factor at all. It doesn't change who you are as a football player. I'm from Utah and I've lived around the LDS faith all of my life. It's something that I'm used to, and in going to BYU, it's something that I'm willing to embrace.

"When you go to BYU you have to take religious classes on the Book of Mormon and whatnot. Honestly, that's something that I don't have a problem with at all. The way I look at it is it's something more to learn and do with your life aside from the religion that I'm already a part of."

Seeing the Jake Heaps and Riley Nelson situation

Recently, BYU quarterback Jake Heaps left the Cougar program in pursuit of greener pastures, and he was LDS.

"All this time I've been thinking about that," Bateman said. "In the back of my mind I've been thinking about Jake Heaps. You know, in that he made the wrong decision."

Bateman watched the quarterback situation between Nelson and Heaps unfold as he followed BYU this season.

"It just comes down to the competitiveness of it all," Bateman said. "I definitely watched BYU this year and saw what was going on. They both have different playing styles, and from a quarterback's point of view, I liked Jake Heaps' style better because I'm more like him as a quarterback. I did like the running style that Nelson brought to the table."

Although Bateman favors the quarterback style of Heaps over Nelson, he acknowledged that Nelson was more productive.

"Both of them got their shot but Riley Nelson took advantage of it. Jake got thrown in as a freshman, but [with] all the camps and development that he had, you would think that would play into his development and early success. College is completely different and he looked great as a freshman, but I just don't think Jake took full advantage of the opportunities that he was given. Now he has to start all over again someplace else."

Talking with Heaps about BYU

Over the past year or so, Bateman had the opportunity to speak to Heaps, the former top high school quarterback in the nation.

"I've had countless conversations with Jake Heaps," Bateman said. "He had a lot of conversations with me and my family and he's the coolest guy ever. I took some trips down to BYU, my family and I, and he talked a lot about BYU. He talked about his whole process about how he limited down the schools that he had been offered by. He talked about the pros and cons of what it took for him to come to a decision in what he was looking for. He told me what he went through and why he made the decision to come to BYU. He talked about the coaches and the type of people they are and the experiences he had so far."

Whenever Heaps spoke to Bateman about BYU, he was complimentary of the coaches.

"What BYU has in store there, you know, the coaches and the players and the aspect of one's entire life and experiences there, is something that we both feel we have in common," said Bateman. "The coaches at BYU are phenomenal and one of the best in the country I would say. We both talked about that and about Brandon Doman. He talked about Brandon Doman and how great he was. You know, Brandon Doman can win over a lot of guys in comparison to a lot of recruiters with just the kind of guy that he is. All the coaches are like that."

Naturally, one might think that after receiving a glowing report and then seeing how it ended for Heaps, that might tarnish or change one's perception of BYU. But, that isn't the case with Bateman.

"I can't say what happened with Jake has affected me. You know, that's just one player and I can't base my decision on someone else like that. If this was something that had happened countless times, then that's one thing, but this was just one time and one guy's decision. In my opinion, I still love BYU coaches and love the program and what they stand for. I can't let what Jake did play into that at all."

Bateman said he is surprised that Heaps transferred, given what he was told by him at one time.

"Just what he had already accomplished there, I think his decision was a rather quick trigger on his part. I mean, you could look at it the other way. Riley Nelson has his senior season ahead of him and if he couldn't win that starting job back over, then that would have been another season on the bench for him. You know, in the end I think it all comes down to the competitiveness of it. You know, I think he gave up in that aspect."

The two recruiters: Doman and DuPaix

The two Cougar coaches that are recruiting Bateman are Coach Doman and Coach DuPaix. Bateman feels the two Cougar coaches are doing a rather fine job.

"You can't ask for cooler guys, nicer guys to recruit you. Brandon Doman, the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, is the one that I've been spending most of my time with. We've started to build a good relationship over this past recruiting process."

Bateman had a lot of positive things to say about Doman.

"You know, I just love Coach Doman," he said. "He's someone that I can definitely see myself just building a relationship with definitely and just surrounding myself with."

Similarly, Bateman also had glowing remarks about BYU's positive, energetic and highly principled running back coach/recruiting coordinator Joe DuPaix.

"I really enjoy DuPaix … he's the one that I keep in contact with mostly. You know, I couldn't ask for a nicer guy to recruit me in this area than someone like Joe DuPaix."

Future quarterback competition at BYU

Tayson Hill, who had first committed to Stanford, recently returned from a mission and will join BYU's football program. Also joining the quarterback ranks is Ammon Olson, who also returned from a mission. Meanwhile, Elite 11 MVP Tanner Mangum will serve a mission before playing at BYU.

Although Bateman has one more year of high school left to play, he obviously won't be serving a mission. So, that could cause a logjam at BYU, with him being sandwiched between Hill, Olson and Mangum.

"You know, I'm not afraid to compete and know that's part of how it is at the next level," Bateman said. "You have to think about those things, but, like I said, for me most importantly is the academic aspect of things, but at the same time you want to go and have some playing time on the field.

"Football is something you enjoy and one of the reasons why you choose a school that's offered you a scholarship to play. Like I said, I'm not afraid to compete, but considering the guys ahead of you is something you have to take into consideration and something I've thought about with BYU."

Bateman said he plans on bringing this issue up with Coach Doman once he speaks with him again.

What he's looking for in a college

With six offers currently on the table, Bateman will take a methodical look at his options.

"It's definitely not all about football," Bateman said. "Most importantly, the way my family and I look at it is over the next four-to-five years you're going to have your education paid for. So, my education is something that I want to take full advantage of.

"It's all about academics over football and that's how it's always been in my life. When you talk BYU, I know that BYU is one of the top academic schools, I believe top 15 in academics, and that's something I'll definitely look at.

"On top of that, I want to know what kind of campus life I'll be living among for those four or five years, what kind of people and environment with be around campus. That's something that I'll be looking at. I want to be at a place that feels like home to me."

Giving all a fair shot

While Bateman recognizes that BYU is a school that has some unique qualities and is close to home, he is also looking at other schools.

"I'm holding every school even right now."

In true Cooper Bateman form, the process of choosing a school will be done methodically and with great precision.

"It's just something that you have to take you time, sit down and think about," said Bateman. "You have to just sit down and think about every aspect of every situation that you've been given. That's something I'll be doing here soon."

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