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January 15, 2014

QB Luke Del Rio says he will transfer from UA

Alabama freshman walk-on quarterback Luke Del Rio announced he was leaving the Crimson Tide football program Wednesday morning via Twitter.

It was not immediately clear where the 6-foot-2, 203-pounder intends to transfer. His dad, Jack Del Rio, is the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator. He held scholarship offers from Oklahoma State, Oregon State and Colorado State before ultimately deciding to walk-on at Alabama.

After Alabama's 45-31 to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, Del Rio told TideSports.com what he got out of his first year in the program.

"I really just worked hard every day ... I did the best I could when I got here in January and tried to learn the playbook and protections and tried to separate myself," he said. "(The competition) is exciting. I came here for that reason. I turned down scholarships for that reason, for the opportunity to compete, to have the opportunity to start. But, you know, nothing is in place yet. We have to compete in the spring, we have to compete in the fall and we'll see who starts."

Del Rio redshirted in 2013 but was expected to compete for the starting job in spring and fall camps. He told TideSports.com that he plans to work with quarterback guru George Whitfield in California this summer.

A tweet after the Sugar Bowl seemed to suggest Del Rio had every intention of staying and competing.

"Tough loss, going to miss all of the seniors especially @10AJMcCarron who taught me so much, offseason starts now though... #Roadto16"

Del Rio's exit along with AJ McCarron's departure leaves Alabama with Blake Sims (senior), Alec Morris (redshirt sophomore), Cooper Bateman (redshirt freshman), Parker McLeod (redshirt freshman) and David Cornwell (true freshman) vying for the starting position. Sims and Morris are the only other quarterbacks to see playing time in 2013. Sims played in eight games and completed 18 of 29 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns. Morris played in one game (Chattanooga) and attempted no passes.

There has rampant speculation that Florida State back-up quarterback Jacob Coker, who played at St. Paul's Episcopal School in Mobile and grew up a Crimson Tide fan, could transfer to Alabama after his graduation this spring. Coker declined comment on his intentions after Florida State's 34-31 win over Auburn in the BCS National Championship Game.

In a recent CBSsports story about Coker's possible transfer to Alabama, Seminoles' quarterback coach Randy Sanders said Coker is a major talent.

"I've never had anybody with his size who throws it as well as he does," Sanders told CBSsports senior college football columnist Bruce Feldman. "Jake has a really quick release with tremendous arm strength. Rarely does it not spiral or not go where he wants it to go."

D.C. Reeves contributed to this report Reach Aaron Suttles at aaron@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0229.



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