“Let’s be honest. You don’t go to school to sit on the bench.” So said Jacob Coker, the Florida State transfer who is now Alabama’s second option under center. He now goes from backing up Jameis Winston to backing up Blake Sims.
While Coker’s goal in transferring after his sophomore year was to replace A.J. McCarron, coach Nick Saban has opted for fifth-year senior Sims to lead the Crimson Tide in their season opener against West Virginia. Now entering his third season in college football at the number two spot, can Coker hope to eventually win the starting job at Alabama?
Here’s what you should know about Alabama’s freshly-minted 6-foot-5 quarterback transfer:
1. Rumors of Coker’s Transfer Were Swirling Before the BCS Title Game
At FSU’s team media day two days before the championship game against Auburn, speculation of a potential Coker Alabama transfer was discussed. But Coker called such talk “rumors” and said that he “[hasn’t] told anybody that.”
Just three weeks later, however, Alabama the signing of Coker: “He is not only an outstanding football player,” Saban told reporters at the time, “but he is also a fine young man who we feel will be a great fit with our program at Alabama.” Coker added that he was “looking forward to getting started at Alabama and competing.”
2. Coker Will be the Backup for the Third Time in 3 Years
EJ Manuel. Jameis Winston. And now Sims. Saturday’s game marks the third time that Coker will suit up behind his team’s starting quarterback.
3. He Was the Early Favorite to Replace AJ McCarron
Heading into preseason, Coker’s passing game was behind Sims’ in nearly every category. But given the two quarterbacks’ limited on-field experience, the competition to replace McCarron was wide open.
Before the preseason competition began, ESPN said that “Coker is the favorite to inherit McCarron’s throne.” Strong outings by Sims led Saban to name him the starter over Coker.
4. He Was Born & Raised in Alabama & Grew Up Rooting for the Tide
A three-star recruit out of St. Paul’s Episcopal High School in Mobile, Alabama, Coker played backup to then-teammate AJ McCarron as a sophomore. And while he grew up an Alabama fan, he committed to Florida State the summer before his senior year despite being recruited by Saban.
5. He’d Be the Biggest Alabama Starting QB in More Than a Decade
Standing at a listed 6-foot-5 and weighing in at 230 pounds, Coker would be the tallest and heaviest starter for Alabama well before Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa seven years ago. Often compared to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger, Coker is mostly confined to the pocket but is known for his arm speed and accuracy.