Athletic linebacker plans USC visit

Fort Walton Beach, Fla. linebacker Matt Coffee is no stranger to the recruiting process and what it entails. The nation's No. 39 strongside linebacker got a first hand look four years ago when his brother Glen Coffee, who now plays for Alabama, was a highly sought after recruit. Now it's Matt's turn to feel the excitement and pressures of being recruited to play big-time college football.


The 5'11", 220-pound Coffee has offers from 12 programs now, including tenders from South Carolina, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Illinois and N.C. State. Coffee says almost all of the schools who have offered him sent coaches by his school to see him this spring.

While Coffee, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.52-seconds, says he saw many of the programs around the southeast when his brother was being recruited, he does have one visit set up he is looking forward to taking.

"I'm going to go visit South Carolina on the 28th of this month," Coffee says. "I just want to see the campus. Just everything really, I've never been up there. I just want to see everything they're about."

Safeties coach Shane Beamer is recruiting Coffee for the Gamecocks, and the two-way high school standout says the Gamecocks are recruiting him the hardest.

"(Coach Beamer) is a cool guy. I like him a lot."

While Coffee says he still has a lot to learn about the South Carolina program, there is one thing that stands out to him right now.

"I always hear a lot about their fan base," Coffee admitted. "That's basically every SEC school, but I've got a coach who lived up there so I always hear about how the games are and the atmosphere and all that."

Despite his positive feelings about South Carolina, the speedy outside linebacker stopped short of calling the Gamecocks his leader at this time.

"I can't really say that until I go up there. But if everything goes good on the visit, I could probably say that."

Coffee would not rule out the chance he could commit while in Columbia, but didn't say there was a good chance he would either.

Coffee's brother is giving him advice on how to go through the process and when he should make a commitment.

"He told me to wait until after football season. Because I only played in five games last year, he says I need to get my senior season in and then make my decision after that."

Coffee missed the first half of the season due to illness, but was still able to amass over 400 yards on the ground and score 4 rushing touchdowns, while racking up over 60 tackles on defense.

The Alabama Crimson Tide has shown Coffee interest, and while it may look like he could be waiting for an offer to play a year with his brother, that is not the case. Coffee emphatically stated an Alabama offer would change nothing about his recruitment.

Fans of those schools recruiting Coffee also need not worry about him having a childhood favorite from the state of Florida, like many prospects do coming out of the Sunshine State. Coffee should have no trouble adjusting to college life, as the well-traveled young man has spent most of his life moving around the U.S. and even lived overseas at one point.

"I've been around. I lived in Saudi Arabia for a little bit. Probably when I started liking college football, I was up in Maryland so I kind of started to become a Penn State and Maryland fan, kind of both. But then you start moving around and never really get settled down, so I've never really had a favorite college team."

Coffee doesn't have any other visits planned for this summer, but says the other school that stands out to him is Mississippi State. He says a visit there is not out of the question.

"I don't really know what stands out about them. I just always watched them with my mom. They were always a college my mom really liked."

Coffee says most of the schools are recruiting him as a linebacker, though some want him as a strong safety or running back. South Carolina is recruiting Coffee as an outside linebacker. He says he has no preference as to what position he plays.


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