|ESPN.com: College Football||[Print without images]|
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The list of candidates to replace AJ McCarron as Alabama quarterback became shorter after freshman Luke Del Rio took to Twitter to announce his intention to leave the program.
Del Rio will strongly consider transferring to Oregon State, a source told ESPN.com.
I had an incredible year at Bama, it's sad to say that it will be my last,I'm excited for the next chapter of my life and what it will bring— Luke Del Rio (@Ldelrio12) January 15, 2014
Luke's father, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, has a close relationship with Oregon State coach Mike Riley. The Beavers recruited Luke out of high school and offered him a scholarship, but he ultimately chose to walk on at Alabama instead.
Alabama's change at offensive coordinator, bringing in former USC coach Lane Kiffin after the departure of Doug Nussmeier, coupled with four-star quarterback David Cornwell enrolling early, could have played a role in Del Rio's decision to transfer.
|Luke Del Rio may wind up at Oregon State, as his father -- Jack Del Rio -- is friends with Beavers coach Mike Riley.|
The Tide must now figure out who will replace McCarron under center.
Blake Sims took the majority of snaps as McCarron's backup this season, but he's viewed primarily as a run-first quarterback with a so-so arm. He threw three interceptions during Alabama's final spring scrimmage and went 18-of-29 for 167 yards and two touchdowns during the season.
Alec Morris, a strong-armed redshirt freshman from Texas, was third on the depth chart. The former three-star prospect took some snaps but didn't attempt a pass during a game this season.
Cooper Bateman, the third-ranked pocket passer in the 2013 class, and Parker McLeod, a three-star prospect from Georgia, both redshirted their first seasons on campus. They'll be joined by Cornwell in the quarterback competition this spring.
"That'll be a really good competition this spring -- really, really excited about our young players on the roster at that position," Nussmeier told reporters prior to the Sugar Bowl and his leaving for Michigan. "With any young quarterback there's a steep learning curve, and for those guys it's about getting snaps every day and continuing to progress, and I like the development that we've seen in those young players. They need to continue to grow. We need to have a really, really good offseason."