Coker would add intrigue to Bama battle

January, 22, 2014
Jan 22
5:40
PM ET


Florida State backup quarterback Jacob Coker was granted his release from his scholarship and has already met with Alabama coach Nick Saban, sources told ESPN.com.

It's expected that Coker, a redshirt sophomore, will enroll at Alabama after graduating from Florida State this spring. That means the fight for replacing AJ McCarron just got a lot more interesting.

[+] EnlargeJameis Winston, Jacob Coker
AP Photo/Phil SearsJameis Winston and Jacob Coker had a spirited duel to become Florida State's starting quarterback last summer.
McCarron's departure seemed to mean that junior Blake Sims and underclassmen Cooper Bateman, Alec Morris and Parker McLeod, along with incoming freshman David Cornwell, would lead the charge to becoming Alabama's new starting quarterback. Throw in Coker, who received rave reviews from his coaches and teammates -- even though he backed up Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston for most of the season before suffering a knee injury in early November -- and the Crimson Tide should have an even tighter race to replace McCarron this fall.

The good news for Alabama is that with Coker pursuing a graduate degree, he would be eligible to compete for the starting job when he steps on campus. Coker threw for only 250 yards and an interception this past season, so the country hasn't seen much of him, though it's worth noting that he went step-for-step with Winston until the final week of fall camp. Remember, Winston won the Heisman last season.

While he doesn't have much of a college résumé, Coker's arrival in Tuscaloosa will add some experience to the quarterback competition. He'll be behind the rest of his competition when he arrives, which should push him even more during the offseason and fall camp. It might light an even bigger fire under the guys competing for the job this spring.

Here's what Florida State quarterback coach Randy Sanders told CBSSports.com about Coker:
"I've never had anybody with his size who throws it as well as he does. Jake has a really quick release with tremendous arm strength. Rarely does it not spiral or not go where he wants it to go."

Even with a logjam at quarterback, getting Coker is a win for the Tide. Replacing McCarron won't be easy, but this sort of addition should make it that much better for whichever quarterback wins the job.

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