Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Jake Coker should find a great home as Alabama's quarterback.
2013 Stats: 250 yards passing, one interception (at Florida State).
Why He’ll Thrive This Fall
As Alabama enters final preparations for its Aug. 30 Georgia Dome opener against West Virginia, Jake Coker finds himself in a familiar position. For the second consecutive season, he’s battling for the starting quarterback role at a high-profile program.
Coker hopes the second time is the charm. Last fall, the 6’5”, 230-pound passer faced off at Florida State with freshman Jameis Winston. Winston won the job and the hearts of Seminoles fans. He led the team to a BCS National Championship and won the Heisman Trophy as a redshirt freshman.
Winston is entrenched as FSU’s starter, which led Coker to look elsewhere. He graduated early and used the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule, which allows players to receive immediate eligibility at their new program, provided that they’ve graduated and the new stop provides a compatible graduate program.
He arrived at Alabama in May and immediately began working to learn the Crimson Tide’s offense under new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. Coker fits the mold of quarterbacks who’ve had success in Kiffin’s offenses in the past. He’s tall, athletic and mobile and can work in a pro-style offense.
This month, Coker is battling with senior Blake Sims, who backed up standout AJ McCarron for the past three seasons. It is unclear who’ll start against the Mountaineers, but ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit likes what he sees, per AL.com's Michael Casagrande.
He's 6'5", 230 and throws the ball as effortlessly as any quarterback you're going to see. He has a huge arm. My questions are probably the same Lane Kiffin and Nick Saban have. This guy has not played competitively, when the game's been on the line for the past three years. You're going into the SEC and play quarterback at Alabama.
We know it's not just about having a big strong arm that impresses people up in the stands, it's about being able to make good decisions and avoiding bad decisions and checking down if the receiver is not there — being able to just do the little things.
If Coker can prove himself to Saban and Kiffin, he should be able to find his way quickly in Alabama’s offense and the SEC.