Anyone assuming Florida State transfer Jacob Coker is a lock to win Alabama’s starting quarterback job when he joins the Crimson Tide in August has not spoken to coach Nick Saban.
”Everybody is way ahead of me on that one,” Saban told reporters Tuesday at the Southeastern Conference spring meetings. ”I’ve never seen the guy throw the ball since he was in high school.”
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Coker competed with Jameis Winston for the starting job in Tallahassee last year before backing up the eventual Heisman Trophy winner for most of the season. He injured his knee in November and had surgery. He was 18 of 36 for 250 yards passing with an interception and a rushing touchdown last season, playing in mop-up duty for the Seminoles.
The Tide is searching for a replacement for three-year starter and Heisman finalist AJ McCarron, who was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Coker, who attended the same Mobile high school as McCarron, has already graduated from Florida State and is eligible to play immediately for Alabama.
The Tide went through spring practice with six quarterbacks. Blake Sims and Cooper Bateman emerged as the leading contenders to start among holdovers.
”In fairness to the players that we have, who worked hard in the spring and had a good offseason, Blake Sims, and all the other quarterbacks who have made improvement, Cooper Bateman, they all deserve to have an opportunity to compete. And we’ll continue to compete and we’ll have a competition that will evolve over the summer and in fall camp and we’ll make a decision about who we think will give us the best opportunity to win,” Saban said.
The coach also said freshman quarterback Parker McLeod, who redshirted last season, will transfer.
”Parker McLeod has been given permission to look at other places,” Saban said.
McLeod, from Marietta, Georgia, threw one pass in the Alabama spring game and it was intercepted. He’ll be the second quarterback to transfer out of Alabama this offseason.
Luke Del Rio, the son of former NFL linebacker and current Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, was a walk-on quarterback for the Crimson Tide last season, but will play for Oregon State next season.