TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- He said and did all the right things. Losing a competition is never easy, but Jacob Coker handled it with a certain hard-working grace: put your nose to the grindstone, turn the page, bottle up the disappointment and use it as fuel later.
He went to Florida State to become the starting quarterback, and after three years, he saw the opportunity pass him by.
It was a close race last season, coaches and teammates insist, but as the rest of college football found out, holding Jameis Winston down is next to impossible. His season will go down in history; Coker's will be easily forgotten. He was just the guy slapping the Heisman Trophy winner's hand as he came off the field.
But an amazing thing happened during the latter part of Florida State's run toward the national championship. Coker, the forgotten loser of a long-forgotten quarterback competition, began grabbing the country's attention. A redshirt sophomore on the verge of graduating, he became one of the most sought-after transfers in college football.
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