Iowa Western Community College transfer Rodney Coe originally committed to the University of Iowa as a running back in college football’s class of 2011.
A running back.
Coe eventually ended up in Council Bluffs as a defensive end. That is when Iowa State, among others, got hot on his trial.
“I went through there with Luke Wells two springs ago heading into his sophomore year,” explained defensive tackles coach Shane Burnham. “Here is a guy who played at 235 as a freshman at Iowa Western. By the time that I got there in April, he was already at like 260.”
Iowa State offered Coe as a 260-pound defensive end. When you consider that Iowa State’s most proven defensive end heading into the 2013 season, Willie Scott, is listed at 242, that’s a pretty nice sized prospect.
“We offered him at 260 not knowing where the growth was going to stop but knowing that he still had growth potential,” Burnham said.
Coe officially visited Iowa State in January.
“He was at 280 or 285,” Burnham said. “You kind of watch it from a distance and over time, we were like ‘Wow, this guy keeps getting bigger and bigger.’”
On National Signing Day 2013, Coe signed with Iowa State as a defensive end but there was always an imaginary asterisk beside his name. Coe becoming a defensive tackle was always a very real possibility.
When Iowa State’s fall camp begins next Monday, Coe, who is now listed as a defensive tackle, will weigh in at around 305 pounds according to Burnham.
“You would never guess that he is at 305,” Burnham said. “You would guess 275 but he is 305.”
It’s hard to play a 305-pound man at defensive end, especially when you need bodies in the middle. Factor in Collin Bevins’ mid-summer departure from the program and Iowa State’s decision to play Coe at tackle in the fall was an easy one to make.
“He made the decision for us,” Burnham said. “He just got to a point where he had grown so much.”
Selfishly, Burnham couldn’t be happier about this development. Defensive ends coach Curtis Bray likely disagrees.
“We offered him as a defensive end knowing that he had the frame that if he did grow into a three-technique, he could go inside and play,” Burnaham said. “The whole time I was crossing my fingers. I wanted him to keep getting heavier because I wanted him.”
Coe is listed as a second-string defensive tackle on Iowa State’s pre-camp depth chart behind junior Brandon Jensen. Without question, Coe’s development will be one of the top storylines to follow throughout Iowa State’s fall camp leading into the 2013 season.