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Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Watch List DE turns himself around

By Radi Nabulsi

ATLANTA -- Josiah Coatney’s (Douglasville, Ga./Chapel Hill) freshman year in high school put the talented defensive end in a hole. Had he paid more attention in the classroom, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound junior might have a double-digit offer list and coaches stalking him on Facebook and Twitter. As it stands, the ESPN Watch List member has no offers despite being highly coveted.

“Yeah, freshman year, freshman year ... it was a lot of fun but it cost me a lot,” Coatney said. “But I think hard work in the classroom and on the field pays off in the self, so after this year I’ll be back on track.”
Josiah Coatney
Josiah Coatney is hoping that improved grades will attract attention from college coaches.
The soft-spoken defender is upfront and candid about his past mistakes.

“I’m at a 2.3 GPA,” Coatney said. “I want to get up to a 2.5 and start getting a lot more offers coming in. That has been the issue.”

At 6-foot-4 and tipping the scales at 260 pounds, Coatney managed to stand out even among 98 of the Peach State’s top athletes at the Rising Seniors' Georgia Junior Bowl in December. His potential showed in the pregame practices and he managed to run over one of the strongest players on the field during the game. College coaches want to offer him. In fact, Coatney has been told that if he had a 2.5 GPA his offer list would read like a who’s who of top college programs.

“It’s just a matter of getting my GPA up,” Coatney said. “Georgia would have offered me by now. Florida would have offered me by now. Alabama would have offered me and South Carolina would have offered. Vanderbilt wanted a 3.5 but I’m like I don’t think I’m going to get that. They all tell me that if they want to invest their time and money in me, they want to make sure I’m worth it. So my goal is to get my grade point average up. Hopefully I can get up high enough I won’t have to worry about it.”

Coatney dismissed his chances of signing with the Commodores, but Vanderbilt is one of the schools he would like to attend.

“They are a real big education school and I like that about them and they’re really good, coming up in the SEC about now,” he said. “I did want a chance to go there because if you get a degree from Vanderbilt you can do anything in life.”

Coatney actually likes Georgia better than Vanderbilt but is not a fan of the 3-4 defense that Todd Grantham uses.

“Mostly I do want to go to Georgia but the scheme -- that’s just one thing that keeps them at bay [compared to] everyone else,” Coatney said. “I don’t know if I would fit in it as much. I would probably play outside linebacker. It would be a matter of me getting used to that coming from defensive end to outside linebacker. But I love the way Mark Richt coaches his team. I love the way everything happens there -- all their facilities and their teamwork and how they almost made it to national championship. One game away. I like that, I like them.”

With grades being an issue, he could turn to many of the top junior colleges in the nation, but the schools recruiting him don’t want to wait two years.

“Everyone who talked to me -- because they’ve all told me the same thing -- they don’t want me to go to junior college,” Coatney said. “They want me to come freshman year. They don’t want to redshirt me either. They want me to come play my freshman year.”

The good news for him is that he has time. He is only a junior and is now attacking the books as hard as he attacks offensive linemen.

“Oh, my grades are good -- A's and B's, mostly,” he said. “I just came out with an 80 in math so I got that to a B, so all A's and B's. That should bring it back up, pretty good. I’m supposed to take my SAT in March or in the summer, so I have got to get with my counselor and talk with her about that. My ACT I’ll take in February. I’ve been study for it. I’ve been going to prep classes for it, so I’m prepared for that.”