NELL REDMOND/Associated Press
Jacob Coker is expected to be a key contender to become Alabama's starting quarterback.
There's no shame in what happened to Jacob Coker in Tallahassee.
Last fall, Coker lost Florida State's QB battle to redshirt freshman Jameis Winston. Winston, of course, broke out in a huge way, winning the Heisman Trophy and leading Florida State to a BCS National Championship, the program's first since the 1999 season.
Winston wasn't going anywhere this fall (and his father says he plans on staying at least two more seasons at FSU, according to USA Today Sports), so it was time for Coker to explore new frontiers. He gets a great opportunity at Alabama, where the job is open following the graduation of AJ McCarron.
McCarron led the Crimson Tide to a pair of national titles with a 36-4 career record as a starter, so expectations will be high. Coker graduated from Florida State in three years and has enrolled at Alabama.
He will be eligible immediately thanks to college football's graduate transfer rule, which allows this eligibility—provided both that the player graduated and that the new stop provides a compatible graduate program.
While senior Blake Sims—who had been McCarron's backup—ended the spring as the top quarterback, Coker stands an excellent chance of supplanting him as long as he picks up new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin's playbook quickly, even though Nick Saban won't say so yet.
At 6'5" and 230 pounds, Coker is a pro-style quarterback who fits very well with Kiffin's system. Last fall, he completed 18 of 36 passes for 250 yards with no touchdowns and an interception in mop-up duty.
He will have a talented offense around him and could be one of 2014's biggest breakout players.