In the case of Alabama pursuing Jacob Coker, unsourced speculation has turned into reality, as head coach Nick Saban reportedly spent Tuesday afternoon visiting the former Florida State quarterback.
According to Ben Thomas of AL.com, Coker's high school coach, Steve Mask, confirmed the visit and said that Coker's family foresees an official trip to Tuscaloosa:
Alabama coach Nick Saban visited the home of former St. Paul's and Florida State quarterback Jacob Coker on Tuesday afternoon, according to St. Paul's head coach Steve Mask.
Mask told AL.com Wednesday morning the Coker family said they could foresee an official visit to the university in the "near future."
Coker was a redshirt sophomore and, until tearing his meniscus in November, the backup to Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston in 2013. The two battled for the starting job in camp, though Winston's obvious advantage made that seem like more of a formality than a serious competition.
Still, Coker is an impressive physical specimen in his own right, standing 6'5'' with a strong arm and decent mobility. Per Thomas' report, he's on track to graduate from Florida State in May, which would make him eligible to play immediately and for two years at Alabama (or any FBS school).
If he indeed makes the move, Coker would throw his hat into the ring of an increasingly muddled quarterback competition. Even after Luke Del Rio transferred to Oregon State last week, Coker would still have to beat out Blake Sims, Cooper Bateman, Parker McLeod, Alec Morris and true freshman David Cornwell for the job.
No member of that list has distinguished himself as the favorite, however, so Coker would stand as good a shot as any to replace AJ McCarron. "I've never had anybody with his size who throws it as well as [Coker] does," said Florida State quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders, per Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports.
That is some pretty high praise.
It's unclear how likely Coker's chances are of playing at Alabama, though an at-home visit from Saban makes the interest on his side sound pretty serious. In the run-up to the national title game, Coker called the Alabama rumors mere "assumptions," according to Michael Casagrande of AL.com.
A Florida State spokesperson confirmed that Coker has been granted his official release, per Brendan Sonnone of the Orlando Sentinel. If nothing else, that and Saban's visit are a couple of big steps in the right direction.