Kanler Coker Journal: Intro

Kanler Coker, a Tar Heel quarterback signee from Flowery Branch (Ga.), is filing weekly journal entries at Inside Carolina as he counts down to enrolling at UNC.

  Entry #1

Most people who grow up in Georgia root for either UGa or Georgia Tech – but not me. Since I was a baby, I've always liked Carolina.

While most babies sleep with a stuffed animal in their crib, I actually slept with a Michael Jordan basketball. Before I could even say "Michael Jordan" I just loved Michael Jordan. Since he went to Carolina, I liked Carolina. Even when I was younger, I always had Carolina stuff. I liked the school, but I liked Carolina because of basketball. But if I saw them playing football, I'd have my Carolina stuff on. But I didn't miss a Carolina basketball game.

Basketball was my first love, but I've been playing football since I was eight years old or so. Since I started playing during my YMCA days, I've always been a quarterback. Right when I started, I knew I wanted to play quarterback. But at that age, it was almost like I was a running back, because I would just get the ball and run.

My most memorable early touchdown was actually on a catch. I took the snap and threw a little screen to one of my receivers. The kid I threw it to had a really good arm at that age, so I took off down the field – and at that age I knew the defense wasn't going to follow me – and he threw a bomb to me and I caught it in the end zone.

I began my high school career at North Hall. I played basketball and football, but I was probably more of a basketball player, to be honest. I put a lot of time into basketball and it was my focus. My freshman year, I started on the varsity basketball team. My sophomore year, I split time as a starter on the varsity football team and then my junior year I started full time.

Up until that point, the Wing-T offense was all that I had ever known, because that was the offense North Hall used and we did it in middle school. I had fun with it. Everything relied on carrying my fakes out. I was booting out a whole lot. The only time I ever really threw the ball was on the run, so it really helped me learn how to throw the ball on the run. It was a good experience, but it didn't require me to think that much and I didn't really need to read the defense to see if I needed to check out of the play.

After my junior season, I decided I wanted to play football in college, because I just started loving the game of football. So that's when I decided to change schools and transfer to Flowery Branch. Early on, my goal was to play Division I football or basketball. I knew that a big part in getting recruited was you had to have stats and some film. I knew that I wasn't going to get that where I was. Flowery Branch had an offense where I could be a dual threat and show all my tools. Jaybo Shaw (Georgia Tech), Connor Shaw (South Carolina), and Austin Brown (UAB) were quarterbacks at Flowery Branch back-to-back-to-back and they all signed Division I scholarships. So I thought, ‘They must know what they're doing over there.'

I had always played against Flowery Branch in basketball and football. I've been on AAU teams and Flowery Branch is in the same county, so I knew a bunch of kids that went there. So the move to Flowery Branch was pretty easy. The day my brother and I got there, they introduced us to the team and right then we were accepted and part of the family.

During the season, I felt like we got better each game and I learned a lot every game. My quarterback coach, Coach Harrison, was good at breaking things down – especially when we would watch film on Sundays. I couldn't have asked for a better coach. He knew how to push me and coach me up on everything. Every game was so much fun and the atmosphere was awesome. Flowery Branch has a great student body and great fans. I wish we were playing tonight; instead I'm preparing to play for my childhood favorite – North Carolina.


Check back next week for Entry #2 ...

Kanler Coker

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