A name you can get used to hearing a lot between now and next February is LaMarcus Coker.
The Antioch (Tenn.) running back is considered by some to be the state’s top prospect in the Class of 2005, and he’s already created a buzz on the recruiting trail by recently giving an early commitment to the home state Vols.
“LaMarcus committed to Tennessee just before Christmas,” Antioch coach Thomas McPhail said. “He had been getting letters from coach Fulmer going back to the end of last season, and they’ve stayed in contact with us ever since. They had him in for an unofficial visit before Christmas, and he and his parents decided they didn’t need to look at anybody else. Tennessee had everything he was looking for.”
Coker (5-11, 180, 4.4) was a finalist for Class 5A “Mr. Football” honors this season after rushing for 1,293 yards and 14 touchdowns. He averaged 118 yards per game and had a season-best effort of 258 yards on eight carries in one half of action against Beech.
“He scored on three of the first four times he touched the ball in that game,” McPhail said. “He scored from 49, 67 and 92 yards out. We took him out at halftime, or there’s no telling what he would have wound up with.
“But the majority of his yards this season came with eight or nine people in the box. Everybody gears their defense to stop him, and we didn’t have a very effective passing game, so he had to do it the hard way a lot of nights.”
According to McPhail, Coker’s main weapon is raw speed. He won the state 3A championship in the 200 meters and finished second in the 100 with an electronic-timed 10.61. He’s been electronically timed as fast as 4.36 in the 40.
“LaMarcus just has unbelievable God-given speed,” McPhail said. “He’s a big-time breakaway threat any time he touches the ball. He’s by far the fastest kid that I’ve ever coached, he’s got great vision, and he’s got decent size and the potential to get bigger. Those are the things that Tennessee saw in him when they decided to go ahead and offer.
“We’ve heard from a lot of people since he made his commitment. I think word is starting to spread, ‘Who’s this junior kid that Tennessee has already?’”