Part 2: Daniel Coats Story: A father's perspective

<b>Daniel Coats</b> might well be lined up as a USC Trojan against the BYU Cougars this fall were it not for the inadvertent actions of USC players who took him partying on his recruiting trip.

BYU was one of a long list of schools vying for Daniel's services during his senior season at Northridge High in Utah, where he had been a All-State selection for two years as a wide receiver.

One of the schools who had shown the most interest was USC. Daniel, who is non-LDS, accepted an invitation to visit USC accompanied by his father, Michael.

"I was really impressed with USC. Everything went really well and Daniel also seemed to like the first part of the trip. I think what turned him off was what happened when they took the players away from the parents," his father recalled.

"Daniel isn't a drinker and he isn't the kind of kid who likes to party and do crazy stuff. I think the players who were hosting him took him and the other recruits to a bunch of parties. Daniel's the kind of kid who likes to spend time with the family, hang around the house and play games. I think the stuff he saw during his visit to USC turned him off."

Daniel's second recruiting visit was to BYU, this time accompanied by his mother Judy. He apparently left with a very different impression.

"Daniel's mother went with him on the trip to BYU. I don't know what they did or what they said while he was there, but they did something right because he really wanted to go there after his visit," his father continued.

Michael, however, said he had the opportunity to meet then-BYU wide receiver coach Mike Borich during the recruiting process and came away impressed.

"Both Daniel's mother and I are originally from Chicago and I'm a huge Bears fan. He (Borich) had just been the wide receivers coach for the Bears, so I was really excited just to talk to him about that."

Michael said he was also planning to accompany Daniel on a scheduled visit to Georgia Tech, but Daniel told him that he really didn't want to go after his BYU visit.

"Daniel thought the visits were fun, but he didn't want to deal with all of the pressure from the coaches since he really wanted to go to BYU at that point."

Daniel canceled his Georgia Tech trip and shortly thereafter gave BYU a verbal commitment.

In addition to the positive experience Daniel experienced during his official BYU trip, Michael noted other factors he believes were important in his son's decision to choose BYU.

"BYU was one of the schools that wanted Daniel to play wide receiver. Some of the other schools wanted to move him to defense or have him play on the line, but BYU said he would be able to play receiver."

Michael said one other factor he thinks played a significant role in Daniel's decision to sign with BYU was his girlfriend at the time, Alicia, who is now his wife. Daniel and Alicia had been good friends since the 7th grade.

Daniel's father said Alicia was also one of the reasons for Daniel's short stay in Tucson the summer after his sophomore year. "I think he really missed her, and that was probably one of the reasons he wanted to be back in Utah instead of Tucson."

Michael and Judy Coats didn't realize how serious the relationship was until Daniel asked an interesting question during an in-home visit with one of the BYU coaches.

"We were meeting with the coach from BYU and out of the blue Daniel asked: 'What if I brought a wife with me to Provo?'" Michael and Judy could only reply, "What?"

"He had never said anything to me about getting married before the question to the coach, so I was stunned," his father said.

Daniel and Alicia were married during Daniel's freshman year at BYU. She is currently attending UVSC and they are doing well, according to his father.

Michael said he spoke with Daniel during spring practice and asked him how it was going.

He said Daniel was a bit hesitant about switching to tight end since he originally signed as a wide receiver, but his father said he thinks he'll do well at the new position.

"He's still adjusting to the new position, but he thinks he'll like it. He's getting rep's with the first team and he'll still get balls thrown to him as a tight end."

Daniel's father was not able to make it to Provo for the spring game, but he said he enjoys reading reports on about his son's performance this spring.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing him on the field this fall."

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