Jake Coker’s route from coveted top prospect to starting for a team on the verge of making the College Football Playoff hasn’t been a direct one, but perhaps that’s why the Alabama quarterback has been able to find success this season.

Coker’s path has taken him from his hometown of Mobile, Ala., to Florida State, where Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher raved about his performance in practice, but he nonetheless found himself buried on the depth chart behind Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.

So he transferred to his home state school only to once again find himself second string when Blake Sims was named the starter last season. It’s created a unique situation where a quarterback who hadn’t yet been able to beat out anyone for a starting job entered 2015 with expectations he could both lead Alabama to conference and national titles and wow pro scouts.

Suffice it to say, it hasn’t always gone according to plan for Coker over the years, but perhaps that’s why he’s been cool this year while dealing with the up and down nature of this college football season with the Crimson Tide.

It’s actually been a steady improvement for the senior quarterback throughout the season. He was benched in favor of Cooper Bateman to start the game against Ole Miss on Sept. 19, then had one of his worst games of the season. He completed just 46.7 percent of his passes with 2 interceptions as the Rebels pulled off the upset in Tuscaloosa.

But his only other multi-interception game was a surprisingly close win against Arkansas on Oct. 10, and he’s thrown just 1 interception total over the past three games while completing more than 72 percent of his passes in each of the past four contests.

While Coker isn’t filling up the stat sheet the way many anticipated — he has thrown for 1,807 yards with 11 touchdowns through nine games — he’s becoming more efficient each week, and it isn’t a coincidence that Alabama is now playing its best football and is a sure bet to make it back to the playoff if it wins out.

In his past two games, Coker has completed 39 of 51 passes for 431 yards, both important Tide wins. He hasn’t had a lot of luck throwing the ball downfield as his longest completion over the past three games went for just 29 yards, but he offered up a perfectly managed game against LSU last week, allowing the defense and running back Derrick Henry to carry the Tide to glory.

“I didn’t turn the ball over and we won,” Coker told reporters this week. “So I’m proud of that.”

He likely had imagined a more glorious role for himself, not just when he began his college career, but also when he finally won the starting job heading into the season opener against Wisconsin.

But Coker’s ability to deal with setbacks and adjust his expectations have played a big part in getting both himself and the Tide to where they are at this point.