Meet Jacob Coker, the (very early) front-runner in Alabama's search to replace one of the most successful quarterbacks in college football history.
If you were to mold yourself the prototypical QB, you'd probably end up with something similar to Coker: 6'5", 230 pounds, rocket for an arm and the type of mobility and athleticism you'd expect from a former basketball, baseball and javelin high-school star. There's only one problem.
He's not enrolled at Alabama.
That may change soon, though. According to sources cited by ESPN.com's Alex Scarborough, Coker, a redshirt sophomore who was released from his scholarship at Florida State, is expected to transfer to Alabama.
If that's not enough, Crimson Tide wide receiver Kevin Norwood may just have let the cat out of the bag about Coker's upcoming decision.
"(Luke) Del Rio just left. He was a pretty good quarterback," Norwood told Tide 99.1 The Game, via al.com's Mark Heim. "Then you have a guy coming in from Florida State, a 6'5" guy. I don't know too much about him. But I heard good things about him."
Norwood's response when asked further about that comment on Tuesday, Jan. 21? "I thought everybody knew."
It may not be official, but if the Alabama native doesn't ultimately land in Tuscaloosa, it would serve as a major shock.
Who will start under center for the Crimson Tide in 2014?
And since he's on course to graduate after three years at FSU—sure, go ahead and add that kind of intelligence to his physical ability; that's fair—he would be eligible to play in the fall.
Which takes us to the inevitable quarterback battle.
The Crimson Tide aren't short on potential replacements for McCarron. Soon-to-be junior Blake Sims backed up McCarron this season, while underclassmen Cooper Bateman, Alec Morris and Parker McLeod will also be in the mix. Finally, 4-star David Cornwell is expected to arrive on campus.
Now, Coker isn't exactly a polished veteran. He has 41 career attempts for 295 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He lost a starting competition to Jameis Winston, who turned out to be the best QB in America, and wound up sidelined after suffering a knee injury in November.
But his physical tools are undeniable. Just ask Florida State QB coach Randy Sanders, via CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman:
Asked if Coker's arm is even better than Winston, the resident Heisman winner, Sanders paused for a few breaths before saying, "Coker's arm is kind of at a different level. Jameis has a very special arm, and this isn't any knock against Jameis, but Jake's probably the best I've seen in 25 years at throwing it."
Seminoles defensive back Lamarcus Joyner added:
"You have two NFL guys sitting on one roster," Joyner said. "Everyone knows about Jameis. He's the Tim Tebow right now. He's in that light, but no one knows about Jacob Coker. Great kid. Physical. I'll never forget the day he threw an interception to me, and that kid came and hit me harder than I've ever been hit in my life. It felt like a linebacker."
By all indications, Coker is special.
Though he was rated as a 3-star recruit out of high school, where he replaced none other than A.J. McCarron himself, much of that ranking had to do with his high school team installing a Wing-T offense to help him survive behind a terrible offensive line.
"If I'd put him in a pro-style offense, he'd have gotten butchered," St. Paul's head coach Jimmy Perry said, via ESPN's David M. Hale.
Coker wasn't able to fully showcase his skill set in high school. He wasn't able to showcase his skill set to anyone outside of Tallahassee while at FSU.
But in Alabama's pro-style system, he'll get a chance. And he'll take full advantage.