Forum Classics

QBs signed by Bama since 1980

Posted by TI on December 29, 2001

Tell me if I left anyone out...

The class of 1980 included five prep QBs that earned AA honors from various sources. That class included Walter Lewis, Andy Martin, Chucky Fields, Paul Fields and Paul Carruth.

Joe Terranova, the grandfather of recruiting services, rated Lewis and Martin among his top 25 QBs in the country. We all know about Lewis' success at Bama. Martin left the program after a year or two. Chucky Fields was a small school phenom at Marengo Academy that moved to running back and later gave up football under Perkins. Paul Fields played some in 81 behind Ken Coley and Lewis. After being granted an extra year of eligibility due to injury, he was to be the starter in 84 but was injured the week of the opener vs BC. The next week he quit the team after a falling out with Perkins. Carruth moved to running back and played a few years at fullback for the Packers.

In 1981 Alabama signed Parade Magazine AA Perry Cuda from Summerville, SC. In his HS career, Cuda passed for nearly 6,000 yards and 55 TDs. He played in 1982 behind Lewis, Coley, etc. He had two TD passes vs Arkansas State in 82 game. He later transferred to South Carolina and ended up somewhere like Furman or The Citadel. His biggest claim to fame was a date he had with Brooke Shields after she chose his name from the list of 1981 Parade AA's.

Also signing in 1981 was Bubby Brister. Yes, he's the same Bubby Brister that played for the Steelers and other NFL teams. Brister prepped at Monroe-Neville HS in Louisiana where he passed for 875 yards his senior season. Just goes to show the true worth of HS stats, because he's one of the few QBs that signed with Bama during that stretch that made it in the NFL. Anyway, Brister never made it to Bama, instead he signed a baseball contract with the Detroit Tigers out of HS.

In Ray Perkins first class Bama Alabama signed a prep AA in Tim Hecht from Virginia. He never played. Yet unheralded Mike Shula, another QB in Perkins' first class, went on to become an excellent QB in his Bama career.

The next big name QBs to sign with Bama were Gene Newberry and Vince Sutton following Perkins' first season of 1983. Newberry graduated early and enrolled for spring practice in hopes of replacing Walter Lewis. Newberry, who had a cannon for an arm, ended up at TE a few years later. Sutton, from LaGrange, GA, was considered the premier HS QB in America that season. He passed for 2,504 yards and 30 TDs as a senior and threw just four INTs. His Bama career was loaded with ups and downs.

Another prep AA signed in the following class [85]. John Easterling of West Lauderdale, MS graduated early and went through spring drills. He was moved to fullback and transferred to USM the fall of his freshman season. He gave up football at USM.

The next class [86] included two of the nation's top five QBs and one tall, skinny unknown QB from Hamilton, AL named Gary Hollingsworth. Billy Ray of Dunwoody, GA was hands down regarded as the best in the nation. He redshirted and later transferred to Duke where as a senior he passed for over 2,000 yards for Steve Spurrier. Jeff Dunn started several games through his career but had few highlights. One of them was a 90-yard TD pass to Pierre Goode vs Tennessee his redshirt freshman season of 1987. In 1989 Hollingsworth, who was 6-4, 165 when he signed with Bama, was named the SEC Offensive Player of The Year in leading the Tide to the Sugar Bowl against Miami.

In 88 Bama got Danny Woodson out of Leflore. Woodson was thought to be one of the best athletic QBs in the country. He chose over Mike Gottfried and Pitt.

In 1990, Gene Stallings' first class, Bama signed three QBs, including prep AA Steve Christopher from Anniston. Christopher threw for a ton of yards his senior season but never stepped foot on the field at Bama. Jason Jack of Oxford threw for a lot of yards and won a couple of state championships but never played at Bama. Jay Barke was labeled as an option QB at Hewitt-Trussville because they ran the wishbone. He was lightly recruited but finished his Bama career with more wins than any other QB in Tide history. Barker, who passed for 750 yards as a HS senior, threw for over 5,000 yards at Bama.

In the 91 class Alabama narrowly missed out on Heath Shuler, but ended up with another player that earned prep AA honors in Brian Burgdorf. Burgdorf backed up Barker for three years and as a senior lost his job to Freddie Kitchens.

A couple of years later Alabama signed prep AA Freddie Kitchens and Lance Tucker.

In the 97 class Alabama signed Andrew Zow, a Wing T QB in HS. Zow is the all-time passing leader at Bama with over 6,000 yards.

In 1998 class Alabama signed prep AA Tyler Watts and Luke Tucker.

In 1999 Alabama signed Josh Parker. Parker transferred to CCSF and is thought to now be out of football.

This last class included prep AA Brodie Croyle and Spencer Pennington.