Asheboro, N.C.--A talented football player and heavyweight wrestler as a high school student, 6-6, 270 defensive lineman Nick Coe has been a commitment to the Auburn Tigers since the Iron Bowl and on Wednesday he made it official when he signed with Gus Malzahn's program at a ceremony at his school. Powerful and athletic, Coe has the skill set to be a dominant player for the Tigers early in his career because of his quickness off the edge and the obvious power that comes along with being a talented wrestler. Coach Owen George said Auburn is getting a good one in Coe.
“In terms of work ethic he’s got a big time motor," George said. "Obviously we’ll talk about his wrestling background, but (he’s) a kid that’s not afraid to roll up his sleeves and put his hard hat on and get dirty and work hard at practice. He’s a versatile athlete. He played some offense for us to kind of show his versatility. On defense I feel like he can contribute as a speed end or a weak side end with obviously his natural position being strong side end. Also, his body frame at 6-5 and seven eighths, so all of 6-6 and 270 pounds as a high school senior, he can possibly develop into a three-technique.
"That’s going to give him some versatility for Auburn to move him around a little bit, but that also might give him an opportunity to get some early playing time as well. Words that I often use to describe Nick are playing with leverage, aggressive hands. Obviously with his push and pull technique from the wrestling mat, you see that translate pretty obvious to the football field. He understands that using his body and using his length is a big time advantage for him, and he’s been able, especially these last two years, to really use that to his advantage on Friday nights. It was evident from his output these past couple of years.”
Choosing Auburn over several other programs when he committed while on a visit for the Iron Bowl, Coe got a big push from Alabama later in the process when the Crimson Tide offered him once it was clear that he would qualify academically. That didn't sway him at all said George because once he made up his mind and found his future home on the Plains, Coe was all Auburn.
“When we went in July we took a bunch of us down as a staff he immediately fell in love with just obviously the campus and that family atmosphere, and you saw a development with the relationship with the coaching staff," George said. "He got to spend some time with some of the players and that was important for Nick. With him it’s about relationships. He comes from a single parent household so he wants to make sure he feels comfortable wherever he is at, and I think being able to spend some quality time with the coaches and the players down there in the summer was big. Then throughout the fall, just touching base with the coaching staff, having them being up here on a few visits and then it was solidified with the Iron Bowl visit. He had just gotten back from an official visit at Florida State, and he was very high on them in terms of his experience there.
"When we went down for the Iron Bowl, and I didn’t want to put any pressure on him in terms of making a decision, but in the beginning of pre game on Saturday morning I looked at him and said ‘How are things going?’ and I could just see it in his face. Then, right around lunch time before the game at kickoff, he told our coaching staff, ‘I’m gonna go commit.’ We were excited for him. You just saw the pressure as well. Some kids relish in that leading up to Signing Day. For Nick it was pressure taken off of him. He told me, he said, ‘Coach, I’m done. I’m done taking visits.’ Then we’ll talk about South Carolina and Alabama both talking to him, Alabama offering him.
"I talked to him about a month ago. I said, ‘What do you think?’ He said, ‘Coach, I really don’t think I want to take any more visits. I love Auburn. I love the school.’ And that’s the big thing. Obviously there was a lot of movement amongst their coaches with Coach Thompson and Coach Muschamp, T-Rob going up to South Carolina. I told Nick, I said, ‘Choose a school for the school first because you never know.’ Obviously he has a great relationship with Coach Garner, loves him, is really looking forward to playing for him and that was very important, too, with Coach Garner staying on there and being his position coach in college. He couldn’t be more happier."
Nick Coe poses for a photo with Gus Malzahn, Rodney Garner and Kevin Steele (far left) with Coach Owen George on the far right.
As a senior Coe's season was cut short with a knee injury, but he still managed 68 tackles, seven sacks and 15 tackles for losses. Those numbers couldn't touch what he did as a junior when he made 70 tackles with 19 1/2 sacks, 15 tackles for losses and 11 quarterback hurries. Back to full strength and hoping to repeat as the National Champion in the heavyweight division, Coe is currently ranked No. 8 in the country in his division.