TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Despite a scholarship offer from Oregon State, Elite 11 quarterback Luke Del Rio (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Valor Christian) has decided to walk on at the University of Alabama. He was previously committed to Oklahoma State.
“I was never going to make a decision just based on if I had a scholarship from that school or not,” Del Rio said. “Obviously, you want to be wanted, and I felt wanted at Alabama. I’m not afraid to work to earn a scholarship. That’s never been a big deal for me. I trust my work ethic, and I feel like I could be able to earn one, eventually.
“It really just came down to what’s the best fit for me. Both of those schools are very similar, Oregon State and Alabama. Both have great coaches, very stable programs. One of the deciding factors was Alabama’s in the South. I’m by my sister. I’m originally from the South. I lived in Jacksonville for the past 10 years, so that was really big. And I know a lot of people who go to Alabama. I just felt more comfortable coming to Alabama.”
The Crimson Tide currently have commitments from two quarterbacks in the 2013 class -- Cooper Bateman and Parker McLeod -- but Del Rio is prepared to compete with both signal-callers when he gets to Tuscaloosa. He and Bateman already know each other well.
“I talked to Cooper yesterday, and we’re both extremely competitive,” Del Rio said. “We might even room together. We’re good friends. We know each other through the Elite 11. We’re not going to let this come between us.”
The decision to walk on comes on the heels of Del Rio’s visit to Alabama this week. On the trip, he spent a lot of time with the coaching staff, in particular offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and head coach Nick Saban.
“They’re very professional,” Del Rio said of the staff. “They’re not going to change just because everybody is going to the spread system. They’re not going to change what they do. I got to know Coach Nuss pretty well. It went really well with Coach Saban. He and my dad have known each other for quite some time, so I’m pretty comfortable with them.”
Del Rio’s father, Jack, is currently the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos. He was the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars for nine years. Although he stayed out of the recruiting process for the most part, it was Luke’s mother who wanted her to son to play for the Tide.
“My mom wanted me to go to Alabama, but she wasn’t interfering with the decision-making at all,” Luke said. “She let me make my mind up. My dad was very hands-off. He would just give me advice when I asked for it.”
Del Rio plans to enroll early at Alabama in January.