Asheboro, N.C.--Making his commitment to the Auburn Tigers over the Iron Bowl weekend while on his official visit, 6-5 ½, 266 defensive lineman Nick Coe got a visit just days later from Will Muschamp, but less than a week later Muschamp was on his way to South Carolina as the new coach of the Gamecocks.
Alongside Coe throughout the entire process, Coach Owen George said that sudden change could have been a dramatic one for his star player or any player going through the recruiting process. Because of the hard work of two current Auburn staff members, however, and a growing love for Auburn, Coe is still very much a Tiger and excited about his future said George.
“We obviously went down for the Iron Bowl, myself and a few assistants and Nick,” George said. “He committed on Saturday, we went back to Asheboro on Sunday and actually, on Monday, Coach Muschamp and Coach Lance Thompson came to Asheboro and we talked about Nick and the plan we had for him.
“At the end of the week we got the news that Coach Muschamp was taking the job at South Carolina,” he added. “That was a bit of a change, but Coach (Rodney) Garner had touched base with me and said he would like to do an in-home visit with Nick. On Sunday he came up with Coach Travis Williams and we got a chance to sit down with Nick and also his mother, which was very big.
“It was important for Nick to have his mom meet his position coach. It was also important for Nick to get some questions answered by Coach Garner about the future and the direction the Auburn defense was headed in. All-in-all it was a great in-home visit. Coach Garner is a great guy and an Auburn grad. We just got a lot of questions answered and it was an important visit for Nick. It definitely solidified his commitment to Auburn. He’s 100 percent all the way and not planning on taking any more visits anywhere. He’s War Eagle all the way.”
With a strong support group led by his mother and George, Coe is a player who has taken visits to different colleges since last spring so he could get a feel for the atmosphere surrounding not only the football programs, but the cities as well. Those have helped him make sure of his decision, something that came pretty early when he finally got a chance to see Auburn and Jordan-Hare Stadium on a gameday.
“When we started this whole process probably about his sophomore year I told Nick and a few of my other coaches told Nick as well that it’s about finding the right school,” George said. “Obviously, coaches change from year to year and coaches are obviously very, very important, but just make sure you can see yourself as a student-athlete there.
“Nick loves that small town, but big college atmosphere,” he added. “Auburn is a great place. He’s been down there twice and has nothing but great things to say about it. Obviously, he’s made some connections with the coaching staff, but he had so many positive things to say about spending time with the other football players at Auburn and talking about their experiences down there.
“I think that’s what made him commit on that Saturday after spending Friday night with a few players talking about what it’s like to be a student-athlete at Auburn. Just the electric atmosphere of the Iron Bowl leading up to the game made his decision very, very clear. When he looked over at us before the game all he said was ‘I want to be an Auburn Tiger.’ We just gave him a thumbs up and we were excited about it.”
Injuring his MCL in the 10th game of the season, Coe is on the comeback trail after he was able to just rest and let the injury heal on its own without needing surgery. Now focused on getting back on the wrestling mat to defend his state heavyweight championship, the future Auburn defensive lineman is a player George predicts will be fun to watch as he continues to grow and mature as a player and person.
“It not being a surgical injury is going to give him the opportunity to get right back out there,” George said. “He’s been in weight training so he’s obviously getting bigger, stronger and faster. To get a chance as a true freshman to get out there and compete and play right away is exciting for any freshman.
“They’ve got a great defense and a great bunch of kids coming back. Nick is looking forward to fitting in with that crowd and getting back up to playing championship caliber defense. He’s got a great frame on him...the thing about Nick is I think he’s getting bigger. That’s the scary thing about Nick is that as big and as tall as he is, he’s a sub-4.7 guy in the 40-yard dash.
“He’s just going to keep getting better and better and bette," the coach added. "Once he gets to Auburn and gets that coaching the sky is the limit for this kid. He’s hungry to get better and he understands he hasn’t reached his potential.”