Jake Coffman’s decision to return to the NIU Huskies defensive line is winning regional and even national attention for the 26-year-old senior, a former Marine who served two tours of duty in the Middle East.
Coffman, who returned to college football as a 22-year old freshman in 2006 and developed into NIU’s top defender in 2009, told Coach Jerry Kill in January that he planned to forego his senior season.
After only a few months away from the game however, he realized his desire to play was still as strong as ever.
“I thought I was ready to be done with it, but I realized that after 18 years of playing a sport that I love, I wasn’t ready to quit yet,” Coffman said.
“Right after the season, I thought I did everything that I wanted to do with (football), and then (a couple months later) I talked to my father and grandfather, and they pointed out that I finish everything that I start; and why not football? That was the first time they had weighed in on it, and that hit me,” he added.
“I spent a whole week thinking about it. I talked to Coach Kill and he was receptive (to me coming back). As soon as I got the green light from him that it was an option to come back, I wanted to. I talked to the players and coaches, and they were receptive to it and here I am.”