Notre Dame Targets Denzel McCoy

Denzel McCoy knows that he has a bright future in front of him.

But before he graduates from Northview High in Duluth, Ga., the outstanding 6-foot-4, 275-pound defensive tackle wants to make sure his school's football program is on the same track as him.

The right track towards success.

In Denzel McCoy's three seasons of varsity football at Northview, the best the team has ever finished a campaign is 5-5, and that was two years ago. Last fall, the Titans went winless.

However, with second-year coach James Showfety, and the leadership of McCoy and a few other upperclassmen, the culture is changing around the Northview program.

"It'd be awesome to leave high school with my last season being a winning season," McCoy said. Despite the team's struggles, McCoy has racked up roughly 25 scholarship offers including one from Notre Dame last weekend. "I can leave off something for people to work towards, that the team can possibly look at as a way to improve."

Showfety thinks that McCoy is doing just that.

"I'm counting on guys like Denzel, and several of those kids have stepped up and showed that they want to be leaders on this team," Showfety said. Before taking the job at Northview, which is three miles from his house, Showfety led Chamblee High to a 12-2 record and a spot in the Georgia AAA state semifinals. "We're definitely determined to get things turned around fast. We've had a good off-season program so far."

The off-season for McCoy has been very busy. Besides balancing his 3.0 GPA with his football conditioning, he's also been sifting through his college scholarships and mail, as well as taking a few visits. Other than Notre Dame, McCoy has been offered a scholarship by places like Alabama, Florida State, North Carolina, LSU, Miami, Penn State, West Virginia and Duke.

McCoy would like to make a college decision prior to his senior season, so he can turn all his attention towards turning things around at Northview.

"That's a big reason why," McCoy stated. "I want to focus on my team as much as I can to help us get better, not just me get better, but us as a whole.

"I'm trying to bring a positive attitude as far as being a leader. It's possible anything can be done if you put your mind to it. If we work hard the right way and have the leadership we need to have, it will get us to where we need to be which is our first win."

McCoy did about as much as he could to help the Titans get a win last fall. He had 73 tackles, seven sacks and nine tackles for loss, jumping on the radar of almost every major college football program in the country.

"At this stage, I think he has room to grow," Showfety said. "I think his senior year, we're counting on him to kind of take it to another level. I think he has shown flashes of dominating in the past. What I'm looking to see as his coach, is to see that on a consistent basis, and I think he intends on doing that his senior year.

"He's got good feet," Showfety continued. "He's very agile for a kid his size. Obviously he's going to get double teamed quite a bit. His big thing I would say, I use the phrase is to wreak havoc at the line of scrimmage, and that's what we really want him doing. Blowing up the hole, and knocking people back. He's a big kid but he goes up against a lot of big kids."

McCoy's father Gary played defensive end and outside linebacker at North Carolina A&T, and is currently his son's defensive line coach at Northview.

"The one thing about him, is that he reads blocks well and he pursues the football," the elder McCoy said. "He relies on his technique instead of brute strength, which is hard to find in high school kids."

The Notre Dame coaching staff found McCoy a long time ago.

Irish assistant coach Jon Tenuta has been by the school, and he keeps in touch with both McCoy and Showfety. Tenuta told McCoy a week ago that an offer would be coming, and he found his written letter from the Irish staff on Saturday.

"It was awesome," McCoy said of the offer. "It was crazy. The offer was actually gold, which was pretty cool. It was neat. It was stunning."

McCoy's parents felt the same way.

We're definitely ecstatic about it," Gary McCoy said. "The prestige of the school and football program is unprecedented."

McCoy knows quite a bit about the Notre Dame program.

"Oh I mean, from Maxwell Award winners, to Heisman winners, to prestige, to National Championships, gosh, big-named players, Rudy, I know a lot."

McCoy is looking forward to learning more from Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis. The two are expected to talk for the first time on Wednesday. McCoy is also going to try and setup his first-ever visit to Notre Dame with Tenuta over the phone sometime soon.

"I remember when he was at Georgia Tech, and I like him as a person," McCoy said of Tenuta. "He's real straight forward. He's not going to beat around the bush with you. He's a heavy-blitz guy which is cool. I'd get a chance to move around which would be fun."

McCoy also thinks it would be fun to play college football with his childhood friend Tai-ler Jones, although both class-of-2010 prospects realize they could also end up going their separate ways. Classmates until the fourth grade, the two went separate ways, when Jones, a four-star receiver that also holds an Irish offer, and his family moved to Roswell. The two still keep in touch quite a bit.

"We just talk about each program we're keeping up with," McCoy said.

"I told him the day Notre Dame offered me that they did. I sent him a text telling him. He sent me a text back saying that's what's up, that's good, he was glad to hear it."

McCoy has already taken visits to the campuses at Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Georgia, Kentucky and Alabama. He doesn't have any future trips currently set up, but plans to take a lot of visits this summer before deciding.

"The vibe I get from each school, the academic impact they have, and how I will feel with my position coach, and the life lessons I'd take from being at the school," McCoy listed as the criteria he's looking for in a program.

McCoy wants to major in computer science, and says he has no favorites.

"I want to look at some more schools before I start narrowing it down."


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