KOSCIUSKO — EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the seventh in a 10-part series highlighting the top area high school football players to watch for in 2012. The players are taken from the rosters of high school teams in Attala, Choctaw and Holmes counties and are nominated by their coaches. Sports editor Stan Beall makes the selections. The players will be revealed one at a time over a 10-week period and are in no particular order. Previously honored were Ethel High School’s Antez Hopkins, Durant’s Cedric Common, Kosciusko’s Kendric Riley, French Camp’s Ben Hosket , Central Holmes’ Andrew Gilmore and KHS Whippet Brian Carter.
When it comes to work ethic, punctuality, and taking classroom work seriously, Durant High School’s Amon’Ta Coffee is the poster child for ‘a coach’s dream player’. “Amon’Ta Coffee is the best football player I’ve ever coached,” said coach Sleepy Robinson. “He’s always on time and he works harder than anybody in the classroom and out of the classroom, he’s a leader by example.”
Coffee stands about 6-foot-1 and weighs 275 pounds.
He’s got all the intangibles to play tackle at the next level, but his height is the limiting factor.
Most D1 institutions are looking for lineman three to five inches taller than Coffee, but few will find a lineman so committed to his craft.
“I work really hard on the practice field and then push myself even harder to study and make sure I’m prepared come game time,” said Coffee. “Right before a game I pray and I don’t try and talk too much before kick-off, because I want to let my play do the talking.”
Coffee is usually the first one to workouts and the last one to leave, his work ethic is unmatched by many.
“He’s just a born leader and he only knows one speed, and that’s full-speed, and he’s such a pleasure to be around,” added Robinson. “If he was 6-foot-3 or taller, every D1 coach in the country would be knocking down the doors to sign him.”
Coffee speaks of how he prays for his teammates and for their protection before games, and his love for the game is evident in how hard he pushes himself on the field.
He is the tackle that the Tigers will run behind when it’s third-and-one and the game’s on the line.
Coach Robinson also said “Coffee is the man, he’s not verbal leader, he just leads the pack and makes them ‘break-down’ after every workout and they willingly follow his lead.”
After speaking with Coffee it is evident that he is a leader.
He doesn’t talk much, but his work ethic both on and off the field drives his teammates to work harder.
Coffee holds himself to a higher standard when it comes to his academics and says that he pushes himself really hard to excel in the classroom as well as on the field.
This quality may prove to be his best, especially to his opponents, because between those white lines he may just rattle someone’s teeth loose. This situation can only be advantageous to Coffee for future job-security because he wants to be a dentist.
“I’m looking for great things out of Coffee this year, our offense will depend on him,” added Robinson.