Rodney Coe is an institution in Edwardsville, Illinois. He is a 6'-3", 245 pound battering ram running back on the football team, and an All-American person off the field. The Tigers are proud of their special player.
He visited the Illinois one-day camp at his high school last Saturday. This was important for UI coaches as he is deluged with scholarship offers and swamped with phone calls. All the attention is nice, but it is beginning to wear on him.
"It was nice at the beginning, but now it's starting to get a little stressing. I'm still hanging on, but all these colleges coming out to recruit me and knowing I can go anywhere I want to and be recruited by all these big schools is just a big honor for me. I'm just loving it right now."
With the notoriety comes the lack of privacy and free time.
"That is true. Every day they call. Throughout the day I get calls and texts. I get tired of it a little bit, but it's all right."
Coe wants to be fair to his suitors and himself. He is trying to make as many unofficial visits as possible to determine his top few schools.
"That's why I've been taking all these visits I've been taking. I want to take as many unofficial visits as I can, so by the time I'm a senior I'll be ready to cut things down, take my officials and call it a day really."
Coe has pursued an amazing travel itinerary this winter and spring.
"I went to Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Missouri, Purdue, Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn. Usually, me and my coach leave right after school on Friday when the day ends and probably don't get back until Sunday night, Monday morning. My coach does all this for me, making out the schedule. Whenever he calls I go."
Does this mean he is willing to attend school far from home?
"Some of these drives have been crazy. Eight, nine, ten hours maybe. But all the drives are fun, getting out there to see things. People ask me about distance from home. At the beginning I was concerned about distance, but it doesn't bother me now. Wherever I feel I'm going, that's what I'm gonna take."
Coe has such unique talent that some evaluators have claimed he might be a great defensive lineman. But there is no doubt what position he prefers. Watching film of his exploits shows an exuberant running back hungry to reach the end zone.
"My whole thing, I want to play running back. If I get a chance to, I'm sticking with running back in college. As of now, I'm just focusing on all the colleges that want me as a running back and take it from there."
After his unusual introduction to football, he seems eager to make up for lost time as a running threat.
"It's fun for me at running back because always when I was in St. Louis they had this age thing about weight. I was over the weight so I couldn't do it. But once I moved over here I was at running back, and ever since then it's been exciting just having the ball and making plays and scores.
"It enthuses me and keeps me going. Running back is my thing. Anything I can do to get past them and get in the end zone. That's my favorite."
Coe has a good idea what he wants in a school.
"What I'm looking for in a college is playing time, how fast I can get on the field. I'm looking for an "I" formation offense really. And just how the people are. It's the people mostly."
Are the Illini still in the picture for his services?
"Oh yeah, Illinois is still in there. I'm giving everybody a chance. Right now I'm wide open. It's an open door."
The young superstar seems to have most of his future mapped out. He already has a good idea what he wants to pursue academically.
"I want to minor in Sociology and major in Business because I want to do things with kids."