Luke, a 6-0, 199-pound redshirt freshman from Central High in Phenix City, ran the scout team offense last fall. He began 2004 spring training number two on the depth chart after backup quarterback Josh Sullivan gave up football to concentrate on baseball. However, Luke was bypassed on the depth chart in spring drills by another redshirt freshman, Brandon Cox, who had an outstanding spring performance.
"He just wants to go and play quarterback and he feels like he probably would have a better opportunity to be the man at that other school," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said. "He could play here. He wants to go and be the guy a little earlier, I guess. I think he could play another position here, but he wants to play quarterback."
Luke says he hasn't decided where he is transferring, but tells Inside the Auburn Tigers he is looking at Tennessee State in Nashville. If he goes to that college, he can play this fall because it is a Division I-AA program that doesn't require him to sit out for a year as a transfer from a Division I-A college.
Kelcy Luke waits his turn at spring practice as his position coach, Al Borges (with headphones on), checks out the action.
Luke earned Class 6A All-State honors as a senior at Central High, leading the Red Devils to an 11-2 record. He passed for 1,636 yards and 15 TDs that year and added 388 rushing yards and three TDs. His teams were 29-7 as a three-year starter at Central.
The quarterback says he has no hard feelings toward Al Borges, the new quarterback coach and offensive coordinator, who installed a new West Coast Offense during spring drills. "Coaches Borges made the decision to make Brandon Cox the backup quarterback and I respect his decision," Luke says. "Brandon and I are in the same class (both redshirt freshmen) and I didn't want to be in a situation where I would be a backup throughout my college career. I want to play."
Cox has had some medical problems, including one that caused him to drop out of school as a true freshman. That is how Cox and Luke, signed a year apart, ended up the in the same class this year. Luke says that Borges pointed out that there would still be competition for the backup job this year and next season when starter Jason Campbell, a fifth-year senior, has graduated. However, Luke says he considered staying but decided a change of venue was his best course of action.
Luke says he is leaving Auburn with no hard feelings. "It wasn't a mistake to sign with Auburn," he says. "The situation just didn't work out for me. I respect Coach Borges, Coach Tuberville and all of the coaches there. I am not leaving because I am unhappy with Auburn. I am just looking for an opportunity to play as soon as I can."
Going into preseason practice, Campbell and Cox will be backed up by two players who participated in spring drills and two newcomers. Wesley Hill, a redshirt sophomore, and walk-on freshman Dusty Goodwin will compete for the third spot with signees Blake Field from North Florida Christian in Tallahassee and Calvin Booker from Mays High in Atlanta.