What should Florida State's Jacob Coker do?

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

What would you do in Coker's shoes?

By now, you've probably read that Florida State's red-shirt junior quarterback Clint Trickett will transfer -- likely to West Virginia or USF. Trickett can play immediately at his new school, taking advantage of the graduate transfer rule as he will graduate in May.

But that might not be the end of the transfers at the quarterback position for the Seminoles.

With it looking like Jameis Winston, a red-shirt freshman, will be the starter, one has to wonder about the future of red-shirt sophomore Jacob Coker.

Coker has a lot of talent. He's extremely well built at 6'5 and 230 pounds. He has a huge arm. And, when healthy (which he was not this spring, being limited with an injured foot), he has very good athleticism relative to his size.

If Coker was healthy during the spring, he might have won the job. But he wasn't healthy. And Winston was that good, both throughout the spring and live during the spring game.

What is Jacob Coker to do?

It would be a mistake to transfer out now. It made a lot of sense for Trickett, because he can play right away. Coker will not have his degree in 2013, and cannot play immediately. If he is to transfer, he must sit out for 2013, unless he goes to a lower division.

It would be foolish for Coker to transfer out until he is certain that Winston will be the starter in 2013. He needs to have his shot at the job while playing on a healthy foot. Which means sticking until right before classes start in the fall at the least.

So that's a timetable.

There's still the question of whether he should transfer at all. There are two options here: stay or go.

If he elects to go to an FBS school, he would have to sit out a year. But he could be learning the system of his new school and participate in practice while being ineligible for game competition. Then, as a red-shirt junior he'd have a chance to start at his new school.

If he stays past the fall as the backup, he's basically betting that:

  1. He can outplay Winston even though Winston has outplayed him in spring 2013 and the fall camp; or
  2. Winston gets hurt, allowing for an opening in which Coker starts and plays very well, supplanting Winston; or
  3. Winston is such a transcendent talent that he goes pro in baseball or football following the 2014 season, leaving a single red-shirt senior season for Coker.

No. 1 seems highly unlikely, No. 2 is unfortunately possible, through improbable, and No. 3 is probably not all that likely.

Or: He might be willing to stick around for 2013, take a large courseload, graduate, and transfer out after the spring of 2014, as Clint Trickett did. That's certainly a possibility, though it wouldn't allow him to get the head start year that a 2013 transfer would provide.

Some will say that Coker should stick around as the backup because the backup gets to show off his skills in garbage time after the game is will in hand, and that the value if Jimbo Fisher's coaching makes staying a smart move. I dismiss this. While certainly a factor, Fisher's quarterback coaching is not something to be valued over actual game reps.

There are, of course, personal considerations factoring into this. His friends are at Florida State. His course of study is at Florida State. Those are tough things to leave. But they are slightly less difficult to leave if you have an NFL arm -- which Coker does.

If he competes in fall and doesn't come out ahead, and is receiving interest from quality schools (like, say, Duke, if allowed, which really wanted him coming out of high school, or UAB, which is in his home state and running the Petrino offense), I think he should go and sit the year while practicing with his new team, learning that system.

Because of his physical tools, Coker has a chance to make a living throwing the football. His decision should be the one that maximizes that opportunity.

What would you do if you were Jacob Coker? Think from his perspective, not that of an FSU fan.

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