Upon completion of just his third game as a sophomore, Cooper Bateman received some very unexpected, but exciting news. Ute coaches, who were in attendance at the game, informed his offensive coordinator, Scott Cate, that they had offered him a scholarship.
To receive an offer that early is almost unheard of. Most of the top athletes receive offers upon completion of their junior seasons, with only the most sought-after athletes receiving offers after completion of their sophomore years.
Yet, there was Bateman, with an offer in hand from Utah just three games into his sophomore season.
“I was seriously shocked,” said the Cottonwood quarterback. “I think the coaches were there to watch some of my teammates, but I know Brian Johnson, their QB coach was there, and I guess he liked what he saw.”
Bateman soon got in touch with Johnson, and Utah has been recruiting him consistently ever since.
“I love Utah, and I think it would be a great fit for me up there,” said the 6-foot-2, 195-pound prospect. “It really has everything I could want. It’s close to home, they’re going into the Pac-12, they have Norm Chow there to coach me, and I’ve always loved their program.”
Since Utah first offered, he’s been able to spend some time on Utah’s campus at camps.
“I love it every time I go up there,” he said. “It’s a real exciting atmosphere, and a lot of excitement with them joining the Pac-12. I’d definitely like to be a part of all that excitement, and Utah is definitely a top school in my mind, and a program I’d love to play for.”
Bateman completed his sophomore year for Cottonwood in which he threw for 1,822 yards, 23 touchdowns, while throwing just six interceptions. He describes himself as a classic drop-back, pro-style quarterback.
As one could readily assume, other programs soon came calling.
“Utah State contacted me just after my sophomore season ended,” he said. “I don’t know much about Utah State, and I haven’t been up there to see the campus yet, but I really want to.”
Both of his parents attended Utah State, which makes the Aggies an attractive program to him.
“I’ve talked their head coach, Gary Andersen on the phone, and he was great,” said Bateman. “Like I said, I just don’t know much about them right now, to really give an opinion on the other schools I’ve seen up close like Utah and BYU.”
Sure enough, BYU was the next school that came forward with an offer. After an unofficial camp visit to the BYU campus, BYU coaches informed him that he now had his third offer.
“Wow, that was a real honor for me to be offered by BYU,” he said. “Bronco Mendenhall, himself informed me of my offer, and that it’s based on not just being a good football player, but it’s also based on their confidence in me as a person to live the standards they have up there. It means a lot to me to have been offered by a program like BYU.”
Bateman is not LDS, but has lived his entire life in Utah.
“I have a lot of respect for the LDS Church, its people, their beliefs and their standards,” he said. “A lot of my friends are Mormon, and down at BYU, they have great people there, great people to be around. I really like their coaching staff. I love Coach Doman, and BYU is an offer I’ll definitely consider.”
Other schools have come calling as well, expressing interest. One of these schools, Stanford, is a program that Bateman has always admired.
“Stanford is definitely one of my favorite schools,” he said. “It’s obviously a lot more than about football there. They have amazing academics, and that’s what makes them so attractive to me. I’m going there to see the campus up close again here soon, so I’m really excited about that. I hope they offer.”
Most of his other interest stems from far-away programs such as Ole Miss, Maryland and Vanderbilt. Ole Miss specifically has been showing a lot of interest of late.
“I plan to go down and visit the Ole Miss campus next month,” he said. “I’ll then go and see either Vanderbilt or Maryland, we haven’t decided which one yet, but we’ll definitely visit one of those schools.”
There is a long way to go with his recruitment, with many other schools likely to come along with scholarship offers. As Bateman is now just preparing to enter his junior season, he hasn’t put any timetable on himself, much less crafted a specific recruiting plan.
“I have a lot of time, so I plan to just concentrate on my coming season, and see what options I have after that,” he said. “It’s a great honor to have offers from three of the biggest in-state schools. I’m very thankful for the interest Stanford and other schools have shown me as well. It’s definitely an exciting thing for me.”
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company