INDIANAPOLIS – Mark Bliss says he has coached five high school All-Americans, but none of them was as dynamic as his latest star, Edwardsville (Ill.) running back Rodney Coe.
"He's one of those kids who come once in a lifetime for a particular coach," Bliss said.
Coe couldn't play offense for three games last season because he had a cast on a broken right hand and couldn't secure the ball, but he still ran for 898 yards and 13 touchdowns in seven games. The 246-pound bruiser averaged 8.5 yards per carry, a number that shows he's not just a short-yardage back.
"He's got good open field moves," Bliss said. "Every time he touches the ball, you just kind of hold your breath because you never know what he's going to do."
And as a linebacker, Coe led the defense with six sacks and had 31 total tackles.
Coe further demonstrated his athletic ability during basketball season, when he averaged 4.8 points and 4.6 rebounds last season as a varsity starter.
"He can dunk a basketball about any way you want," Bliss said.
Bliss said Coe's best game last season was against Belleville West. He carried 28 times for 202 yards and three touchdowns to help Edwardsville to a 34-31 win.
"He just took it over," Bliss said. "It was a crucial game, and we needed a win to guarantee a playoff spot."
Success is in his genes. His grandfather, Charlie Coe, played baseball for the Detroit Tigers and football for the St. Louis Cardinals. His uncle, Michael Coe, plays cornerback for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Coe is undecided on a school, but Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kansas State and Iowa are the front-runners.