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Nick Saban confirms QB Blake Barnett has left Alabama

Alabama coach Nick Saban confirmed on Thursday that redshirt freshman quarterback Blake Barnett has officially left the university.

"We received word this afternoon that Blake Barnett has officially withdrawn from school and is no longer with our program," Saban said in a statement. "The quarterback position is a very unique position where only one player can play. We are very disappointed any time a player leaves the program who feels he can compete for a starting position elsewhere, rather than here at Alabama. We wish Blake the very best of luck in the future."

According to a report by AL.com on Wednesday, Barnett intends to transfer, which would make him the fourth quarterback to do so from Alabama since 2014, joining Parker McLeod, Luke Del Rio and Alec Morris.

AL.com later reported that the redshirt freshman will go to a junior college, and since he's leaving Bama at this point of the season, he will be eligible to play at another FBS program at this point next year provided he meets the minimum credits and GPA and graduates from the juco.

During his news conference on Wednesday, and after AL.com's initial report, Saban said he had not been aware of Barnett's intention to leave Tuscaloosa.

Barnett started Alabama's season-opening game against USC before he was pulled in favor of Jalen Hurts. Barnett, a former five-star product from California, appeared in three games and completed 11 of 19 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns versus the Trojans.

Redshirt junior Cooper Bateman is now the clear No. 2 quarterback on the Crimson Tide's depth chart with Barnett's departure. Bateman started one game last season and was the primary backup to then-starter Jake Coker.

Hurts, a true freshman, has started each of Alabama's past three games and has thrown five touchdowns and just one interception. He also has rushed for three scores.

Top-ranked Alabama (4-0) will host Kentucky on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.