But Del Rio chose to attend Alabama as a non-scholarship player last weekend, making the pick for family and geographical reasons, as he revealed to Mile High Sports on Thursday.
“One of the biggest things for me was I wanted to be close to my family. I’m from Florida, lived there the last 10 years. My Mom’s side of the family lives in Louisiana, my sister goes to Alabama, so I was very comfortable there,” Del Rio said. “And as well as the coaching staff, I got to know (the coaches) as the trip went on.”
Del Rio was told that he wasn’t offered a scholarship because Alabama had used up all 85 of their spots, but he was told by the coaching staff that he will be treated as a scholarship athlete as a preferred walk-on. After visiting Oregon State earlier this month, Del Rio went to Alabama immediately afterwards and canceled a scheduled trip to UCLA after visiting Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. Del Rio was given assurances that he will get a chance to eventually compete for a role in the near future.
“I like my chances at competing there next year once (incumbent starter) A.J. (McCarron) goes to the NFL,” Del Rio said. “Hopefully I can earn whatever job I can earn, and I’ll go from there.”
Del Rio completed over 70 percent of his passes in his lone season at Valor in 2012, throwing for 2275 yards and 28 touchdowns compared to just four interceptions, according to MaxPreps.com. Valor Christian won the 5A state title earlier this month. The 6-2, 190 pounder is the son of Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, but even with those recent local ties, Luke said he didn’t want to stay in Colorado.
“Nothing against Colorado, I just don’t think I’m a Colorado person – not the school, but the state,” Del Rio said. “I’d like to get back down south.”
Del Rio said the decision is “done” and finished his final final exam this week, clearing the way for the three-star recruit (according to Yahoo! Rivals) to head to Tuscaloosa in January. And despite the fact that he’ll be arriving at Alabama without a scholarship, Del Rio still thinks it’s the place that he felt most wanted.
“It wasn’t a big deal for me,” Del Rio said of not receiving a scholarship from Alabama. “I just felt wanted there when I went there, and that was big for me, and to be treated fairly and the same as the other quarterbacks. I didn’t see a reason why I shouldn’t be there.”