“Every college coach that comes through here, they’re so impressed when they hear how good of a wrestler he is and the first thing that comes out of their mouths is leverage. He plays with great leverage – he doesn’t stand up. He understands how to push and pull. I think he was second or third in the state in sacks last year, so I think it translates to the football field because of his skill set.
“He can run – he ran a 4.7 [40-yard dash] at Tennessee’s camp last year.”
During the playoffs of his freshman season, Coe was promoted to varsity. The following season, he became the starter at strong-side end within Asheboro’s 4-3 defensive scheme.
“We’re trying to get him in a situation where he can control that heavy offensive line as much as possible,” George said. “But at the same time, [we want to] give him the freedom to be free and rush the passer.”
As a junior, Coe was among the state’s leaders in sacks, helping him earn Mid Piedmont Conference Defensive Player-of-the-Year. He brought the quarterback down 19.5 times that season, plus had 11 QB hurries. In addition to his sack number, he made 15 other tackles behind the line of scrimmage. In total, he tallied 70 tackles last season. He also had five pass breakups.
For his senior season, George plans to expand Coe’s role to offense and start him at tight end.
“We’re going to try to throw him the ball a little bit,” George said. “He has decent hands and he can run.”
Shortly after the 2014 season concluded, North Carolina assistant coach Chris Kapilovic offered Coe a scholarship.
“Coach Kap was one of the first coaches to come through,” George said. “He came to talk to me. I actually had Nick in weight training class that day, so once I talked to Coach Kap I told Nick.”
UNC is among the five schools to have offered Coe – Charlotte, Old Dominion, Virginia Tech and West Virginia are the others. He’s also receiving heavy interest from East Carolina, Florida State, NC State, Notre Dame and Tennessee.
For the second consecutive year, Coe accepted a junior day invitation from UNC.
“It was good just going around campus and checking out the weight room and stuff,” Coe said.
While on campus for that junior day in late January, Coe met with Larry Fedora in his office. George was present for that meeting.
“It wasn’t necessarily talking about college choices,” George said. “It was about life. ‘What do you plan to do? What are your long term goals?’ He just talked man-to-man.”
Afterwards, Coe and company were treated to UNC’s basketball win over Florida State.
“It was great,” Coe said. “The fans were really into it.”
At halftime, Chizik escorted Coe and George to his office where Chizik formally introduced himself and fully explained how Coe would be utilized within the defense Chizik plans to install at UNC.
“He wants me to play as a power end – I’ll rush the quarterback from the strong-side,” Coe said. “For the DBs to handle the wide receivers, he said he needs a good pass rush and he said I’d be perfect for it.”
“He really has a plan and it starts up front and obviously they’re recruiting some great defensive tackles,” George said. “… Obviously he talked about Nick. [Chizik] did slide him down a little bit into a three-technique for pass rushing situations. But he said, ‘Nick is going to be our strong-side end if he comes to North Carolina. He has the frame.’
That junior day experience has contributed to UNC’s lead for Coe.
“Carolina is sticking out to me,” Coe said. “I like the campus and the coaches – they seem like good guys.”
In addition to UNC, Coe has visited NC State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia. He was invited to Florida State later this month, but with wrestling regionals and finals forthcoming he had to request a rain check.
Extra Notes Coe is an All-State and All-American wrestler currently ranked No. 1 in the heavyweight division with a 38-3 record… He grew up a UNC fan