** UPDATED: With Cooper Bateman's comments. **
Already in national football previews, it's been clear that Utah has some football talent that folks across the nation are tracking. The latest affirmation of the state's place in the football landscape is USA Today's Preseason All-USA Football team, which features Cottonwood quarterback Cooper Bateman as one of its honorees.
Bateman, an Alabama commit, said he found out the news from several Crimson Tide fans who sent him messages on Thursday morning.
"It's an honor, but the main ones are the ones after the season," Bateman said. "It's a lot of pressure, and you definitely realize a lot of people are watching you and expecting you to do well. But you try your best not to think about it or let it affect you."
Bateman, who threw for 2,484 yards and 25 touchdowns last season, was one of two passers picked for the All-USA offense, and the only Utah selection on the team. Interestingly, he was chosen alongside Skyline (Wash.) quarterback Max Browne, whom he'll face on Sept. 7.
The have been linked for a while they attended The Opening together and were roommates at Elite 11 camp. Bateman said they remain rivals, but have become friends as well.
"Max and I never see our names apart, and that's just how it is," he said. "We joke about it sometimes."
While the rest of the state started the season last week, Cottonwood is one of the few that wasn't able to line up a game. The Colts travel to Logan this Friday for a rematch with the defending 4A champs that they lost last year. With a new coach and potentially new tweaks to the offense, Bateman and his teammates, though talented, should have some bumps this year.
Still, watching a Murray game last Friday, Bateman said he couldn't wait to get started.
"We're excited, and we think it'll be a great game," he said. "There should be a lot of points scored hopefully more on our side, though."
Other links and notes:
• In national rankings, there were a few ticks of the needle last week. Jordan got a slight bump in the Rivals 100 - up to No. 46 - after trouncing Fremont on the road. Bingham earned a 28-0 win against West Jordan, allowing the Miners to keep a hold on their No. 23 spot in USA Today's top 25.
• Bingham football was named Utah's most consistent program in the past eight years by Maxpreps.com based on the average ranking and number of championships won. Bingham's average rank in the state during the stretch has been 3.88 - not too shabby - with titles in 2006, 2009 and 2010. Timpview, Alta, Highland and Cottonwood rounded out the top five.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon