Florida State Football: With Jacob Coker Out, Who Will Be Winston's Backup QB?

Perry Kostidakis@perrykosContributor IJanuary 23, 2014

Florida State quarterback Sean Maguire (10) throws a pass in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against Syracuse on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State beat Syracuse 59-3. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)
Phil Sears/Associated Press

In a move that everybody hardly anyone saw coming, backup Florida State quarterback Jacob Coker, who nearly beat out Jameis Winston for the job this last offseason, has been released from his scholarship and will seek a transfer, most likely to Alabama.

It's hard to blame Coker for seeking other playing opportunities. It's always been widely assumed that he could start at a great number of FBS schools and if Nick Saban is already trying to recruit him (which, according to al.com, he is), that's a pretty good indicator of the talent that could go to waste riding on the bench behind the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. 

“Jacob is the only person I know that can throw off one leg better than anyone else” Winston said during the Seminoles stay in California. “When you see him at practice, he loves to throw and he just had surgery on his knee, Jacob is a great athlete, 6-4, 6-5 and 230, me personally I think Jacob can go anywhere and start in any program.”

Coker's departure, however, raises an interesting question for the Seminoles: Who is set to be Winston's backup?

Logic would assume that Sean Maguire, redshirt sophomore, would be the next man up since playing in Coker's place in four games this season, showing off potential as a gunslinger, throwing for 116 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. 

However, Jimbo Fisher has a reputation for taking careful consideration in the order of his quarterbacks. Two years ago, when EJ Manuel was entering into his redshirt senior year, Clint Trickett and Jacob Coker had an intense battle for the second-string spot, with Trickett coming out on top. 

Florida State will have five quarterbacks on roster next year assuming that both current commits, J.J. Cosentino and Treon Harris, follow through and sign to the school. John Franklin III, who was elevated to third-string after Coker suffered a torn meniscus, performed exceptionally well for the Seminoles on the scout team where, as a redshirt freshman, he emulated quarterbacks such as Tahj Boyd. 

Whoever has the second spot will obviously be the top choice to start should Jameis Winston, as expected, leave after next year. Maguire, who has the talent to be a starter at other FBS schools as well, will have a leg up in the race, and should by all means secure the spot. But if Franklin can have a strong spring, or if Franklin or Harris are exceptionally talented, then there's a possibility of a quarterback controversy in Tallahassee.