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February 24, 2004

Coffman has big footsteps to follow

Each year sons of former NFL players pop up on the recruiting scene.

The names are familiar to football fans so the attention has been focused on the young players since an early age.

This year, one prospect hoping to have the same good fortune dad did on the football field is Kansas City area tight end Chase Coffman.

The 6-foot-6, 215-pound Coffman stars for Raymore-Peculiar High School in Peculiar, Mo., a town just south of Kansas City. This year, the All-Missouri selection will have his younger brother, Carson, throwing passes to him.

"Chase is getting a lot of mail already," Coffman's father and former NFL standout Paul Coffman said. "Arkansas, Missouri and Iowa send the most mail. Kansas State, Illinois and Kansas send some mail, but not like those three."

So far, two of the letters have contained scholarship offers.

"Missouri and Iowa have offered him scholarships," the elder Coffman said. "It is nice to have schools feeling he is talented enough to play at that level already, but Chase knows it is still early."

While the two schools with offers out there are high on the list at this early stage, they are joined in the top three by dad's alma mater.

"Every time he has listed schools as his favorites on the questionnaires and forms, he puts down Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa," Coffman's father said. "I played at K-State, but I'm not trying to push him to any school. I want him to know it will ultimately be his decision. I don't want him choosing a school and getting there for a couple years and finding out he did it because dad wanted him to. I'm here for questions as he goes through this process, but right now, I want him to enjoy the recruiting experience and not feel pressure. He has basketball going on right now, and he's taking this stuff in stride."

The recruiting process got started after the younger Coffman's freshman season in high school.

"I started after Chase's freshman season calling coaches I know to talk to them about him," his father said. "I told them he was 6-foot-2, and I didn't know if he would develop into anything. I knew Coach Fran, who's now at Texas A&M, from his time at K-State. He was one of the first ones I called. Then after Chase's sophomore season, I called some more. I was telling them he was 6-foot-4 and was starting to look like he might be able to play football. Now, when I talk to them, I tell them Chase is me, with talent. Schools know about him now. He'll have a few choices to make as he goes through this and that's all we can ask for."

As a sophomore, Coffman hauled in 39 passes for 615 yards and 11 touchdowns. During his junior season, he caught 50 balls for 813 yards and 13 scores.

"Now, as he gets ready for his senior season, the numbers should get better," Coffman said with a laugh. "And if they don't, he's got nobody but his brother to blame. It will be all on Carson to get him the ball, and Chase will let him know if he's not doing it."

Younger brother has been working on his game at the junior varsity level as he prepares to make the move this year to the varsity squad.

"Carson is just 15 right now," Coffman said of his youngest son.

"He has a gift of being able to throw the ball. He anticipates his throws very well. I know it is just the junior varsity level, but in eight games, he threw for 27 touchdowns. He's 6-foot-2 and 170-pounds, but he'll keep getting bigger."

A few summer camps will keep the Coffman family on the go.

"He's going to go to Iowa for the Nike camp," the dad said.

"Then K-State and Missouri both have one-day camps here in Kansas City, so it will be easy for him to get to those. He has a team camp at Central Missouri State he'll go to, and there are basketball camps and summer leagues to play in.

"There are enough people wanting him to come to their camps, that if we did them all, we would spend enough to pay for the tuition and not need to find a scholarship."


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