Del Rio will continue his playing career outside of Tuscaloosa.
The Alabama Crimson Tide football program’s competition for its next starting quarterback just got a little less crowded.
On Wednesday afternoon, quarterback Luke Del Rio announced his decision to transfer via his official Twitter page:
I had an incredible year at Bama, it's sad to say that it will be my last,I'm excited for the next chapter of my life and what it will bring— Luke Del Rio (@Ldelrio12) January 15, 2014
But I will always admit that Bama has the BEST fans in the nation, so much love and support through thick and thin #RollTide4Life— Luke Del Rio (@Ldelrio12) January 15, 2014
Although he was a walk-on, Del Rio seemed to ascend to third-string quarterback duties during his freshman season behind starter AJ McCarron and longtime backup Blake Sims.
Given that Sims would be a senior next season, it was expected that head coach Nick Saban might opt for a younger signal-caller to succeed McCarron. Along with Del Rio, redshirt sophomore Alec Morris and redshirt freshmen Cooper Bateman and Parker McLeod were also expected to compete.
Throw in Class of 2014 prospect and 247Sports composite 4-star recruit David Cornwell, and it’ll be quite the party on the quarterback depth chart over the summer.
Still, Del Rio seemed most poised to be the front-runner for the job.
“I think I can execute the offense well,” he said last season, via The Crimson White’s Marc Torrence. “Obviously I have a lot to improve on. This offseason is going to be big for all of us. Let the best man win.”
It appears Del Rio has had a change of heart.
A 3-star prospect coming out of Valor Christian High, Del Rio received offers from Oregon State, Colorado State, Oklahoma State and UCLA. It makes those four schools the leading candidates to land the Littleton, Colo., native.
Whoever ends up winning the starting job at Alabama will have large shoes to fill, as McCarron set career school records in touchdown passes (77), passing yards (9,019), total offense (8,955), completions (686) and wins (36).
All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of CFBstats.com.