Three years ago, Northridge defensive back/wide receiver Daniel Coats was a well-kept secret, but he kept doing things on the football field to blow his cover.

As a sophomore he led the Knights with seven interceptions, and two games into his junior year he had two touchdown catches in a 27-10 victory over Alta, and then the word was out that he was also an offensive threat.

From there, Coats was the player teams tried to stop, and most had difficulty doing so.

In his final two seasons, the 2000 Class 5A MVP led his team to a 23-2 record, had back-to-back seasons of 1,000 yards receiving, and two state championship victories over Skyline.

With that, Coats, 6-foot-4-inches and 210 pounds, isn't a secret on the national level, as teams like Michigan, Colorado, North Carolina State, BYU, Utah, USC and Washington are requesting his services.

For this, Coats was named the Deseret News' 2001 Mr. Football award winner.

Coats' teammate Jase McCormick, Mountain Crest's Ryan Zimmerman and Jake Kuresa, Logan's Ryan Bohm, Highland's Haloti Ngata, Hunter's Tarell Richards and Park City's Brandon Rogers were also considered for the award.

"Without him, Northridge is beatable," Jordan coach Jim Birch said.

Coats finished with 1,208 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also threw for a touchdown and had an interception return for a touchdown. In this year's semifinal game against Bingham, Coats racked up nine catches for 134 yards and a touchdown, and in the championship game he had three catches for 67 yards.

"There were times we were struggling at third-and-long and we would get the ball in the air to him and a lot of times he would come down with it," Northridge coach Fred Fernandes said. "Our simplest plays he could turn into 80 yards in a heart beat."

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Prep MVPs took teams to state titles

2001 All-state prep football

2001 second teams and honorable mention

Awards ceremony

Defensively at free safety and linebacker, he tallied 94 tackles (39 unassisted), four interceptions (one for a touchdown), seven pass deflections and a fumble recovery.

"He can do it all. He's a versatile athlete," Fernandes said.

Last year he tallied 49 catches for 1,078 yards and 12 touchdowns, and at free safety he had 36 tackles, two interceptions, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.

"He's such an athlete he could have started at 22 different positions for us," Fernandes said.

During his career he played wide receiver, defensive back, defensive line, tailback and tight end.

His contribution on offense was measured by his numbers, but what he did defensively was just as valuable.

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"He could cover from sideline to sideline and it allowed us to be more aggressive defensively," Fernandes said.

Coats, along with Spencer Bailey, McCormick, Blake Bastian and Tyson Stevenson made up one the state's most explosive offenses. The Knights set a new state record for points in the playoffs (212) and were one of four teams to score 500 points (507) in a season.

"Teams were trying to take him away, and in games they would, someone else would have a big game," Fernandes said.


E-MAIL: jhinton@desnews.com

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