TUSCALOOSA -- While former Florida State quarterback Jacob Coker has chosen Alabama as his transfer destination, there is still a lot of work to be done before he officially moves to Tuscaloosa.
In a radio interview with WNSP 105.5-FM, Coker gave a little insight into what he’ll face in the classroom during his final semester in Tallahassee.
“It’s a pretty heavy workload,” Coker said. “I’ve taken 18 hours before so it shouldn’t be a problem.”
Coker, who is rehabbing a meniscus injury, said Tuesday marks 12 weeks since the injury. He said the next step in the process will be strengthening his leg.
The 6-foot-5, 230 pound quarterback is expected to graduate in May and enroll at Alabama in the summer. NCAA rules allow athletes who have completed their graduation requirements to transfer without sitting out a year. Coker will have two years of eligibility left.
He will not count against the current recruiting class limit of 25 incoming players, but will count against the team total of 85, which is the maximum allowed by the NCAA for FBS schools.
On Sunday, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban announced that Coker will be joining the Tide.
Coker said it is technically just a verbal commitment, but added that he signed forms which “gives them the ability to contact me like I’m a player at Alabama which makes the transition easier.”
So why Alabama?
“I grew up a huge Alabama fan,” Coker said. “It felt like I was coming home. On my visit, I was really impressed by the coaches and players. It got me real excited about coming back and playing for my home state and my hometown team.”
Coker said he didn’t visit any other schools.
“I had a good idea of where I wanted to be,” Coker said. “I wanted to visit Alabama first and check it out. It was what I thought it was. I feel comfortable with the decision right now. I’m just really excited about the possibilities that are in the future.”
Coker is one of many signal callers who’ll be vying to replace three-year starter AJ McCarron. Coker replaced McCarron at St. Paul’s High in Mobile.
At quarterback, the Tide also will have rising senior Blake Sims, redshirt sophomore Alec Morris, redshirt freshmen Cooper Bateman and Parker McLeod and incoming freshman David Cornwell.
During his visit to Tuscaloosa this past weekend, Coker said he wasn’t able to meet any of the quarterbacks.
While his competitors will have spring practice to impress the coaches and gain chemistry with teammates, Coker won’t use the lack of spring workouts as an excuse for not earning the job.
“I’m just going to try to get as comfortable with the playbook as possible before I get there,” Coker said. “Just work as hard as I can to compete when I get there.”
Coker is no stranger to competition. He battled Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston for the Seminoles’ starting job last offseason. Coker said he and Winston grew close during their two years together and that their competition was a positive one.
“We got along real well,” Coker said. “If he made a play or I made a play, we were both patting each other on the back. It was really just a good situation and we made ourselves better. It was a fun season this year.”
Under Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher and quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders, Coker said he “learned more football than I could ever have imagined.” He also said Fisher was very helpful throughout this entire process.
“He was real positive about the whole situation,” Coker said. “It was really good for me the way he handled it. He offered any help he could possibly give me. He was just real encouraging of the situation. He handled it great, and I appreciate.”
Now, Coker will look to get comfortable with his new position coach. He said he talked with new Tide offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Lane Kiffin over the weekend. Coker said the two offenses are similar and that it would be “good to have that basic foundation down.”“We went over how the games would be managed,” Coker said. “We’ll get into the terminology and the language later. I’m real excited about how he presented the offense and I’m excited about getting into the playbook.”