Vanderbilt 'felt like family' to Deshler's Coger

<B>Duran Coger</b>'s multiple talents on the football field have helped take Deshler High School to the Alabama 4A state championship game each of the last two seasons. Next year Coger will be taking those same talents to Vanderbilt. The Tuscumbia, Ala. native says one current Vandy player and another who had already committed for next year helped cement his decision.

Duran Coger's multiple talents on the football field have helped take Tuscumbia, Ala. Deshler High School to the Alabama 4A state championship game each of the last two seasons. Next year Coger will be taking those same talents to Vanderbilt University; the Tuscumbia, Ala. native made a commitment to the Commodores after taking an official visit to the Nashville campus last weekend.

"The visit was great," Coger said. "The coaches treated us like family."

Working in Vanderbilt's favor was the fact that Coger already knew one current Commodore player (Reshard Langford, a Tanner, Ala. native who served as his host for the weekend) and one player who had already made a commitment (Hoover DB Joel Caldwell).

"I grew up watching Reshard play at Tanner," said Coger. "I wasn't real close friends with Joel Caldwell, but me and him knew each other. We were roommates up there. He had already committed. I said I was going to go ahead and commit, because I knew him. The two of us could probably grow up and play together for the next four years."

Also impressing Coger was the fact that everything on campus was close together, unlike some of the bigger campuses he had visited.

"Most of my classes will be on the Peabody campus, right there close to the freshman dorm, so you don't have to walk all over campus. They're right there by the football field," said Coger, who is currently considering Exercise Science or Human and Organizational Development as majors.

With his 4.45 speed, Coger did it all for the North Alabama powerhouse Deshler, playing multiple positions on offense, defense and special teams. Perhaps the biggest question is yet to be resolved for the 6-0, 180-pound athlete: where will the Commodores utilize him? It may take a while to figure that out.

"They were talking mostly about corner," Coger said. "My Dad asked them [if he might play on offense too], and they said, don't worry about him not getting the ball. They might put me at receiver or they might put me in the backfield, depending on how much weight I gain. They know I can gain some good weight."

"They mentioned kickoff returns too. I told them I didn't really like punt returns. I can catch punts, but there's something about them I didn't like. I didn't do it in high school."

Western Kentucky had turned up the heat on Coger lately, and probably would have been his second choice, he said. UAB has also been recruiting the Deshler star for a while, but none of them have been after him as long as Vanderbilt.

"Vanderbilt started at the beginning of the year sending me letters. My coach had a bunch of letters in his box that said that Vanderbilt might be looking at me. Back during my football season in the playoffs, Coach Caldwell told me that Coach Johnson was going to offer me a full scholarship. Coach Johnson came over to my house [for an in-home visit] after one of my basketball games in December, and he offered me in front of my parents."

Recruiting has been harried for Coger, who wound up having to mull over scholarship offers from seven different schools. After giving Bobby Johnson his word on Sunday, Coger slept soundly on Sunday night, thinking ahead to graduation and a college career with the Commodores of the Southeastern Conference.

"No more visits for me," he said. "I think my recruiting is finally all over with."

Coger was one of three players to commit to Vandy over the weekend; the others were Ryan Custer (OL, Troy, Ala.) and Chris Johnson (LB, Birmingham, Ala.). Top Stories