Coffman expects to return next season for Missouri

Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Missouri tight end Chase Coffman said he's almost certain that he will return in 2008 for his senior season. Story on Page 3B. (JEFF ROBERSON ~ Associated Press)

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Missouri tight end Chase Coffman expects to return for his senior season rather than enter the NFL draft, but isn't quite ready to make that decision final.

Around the time No. 7 Missouri (11-2) plays No. 25 Arkansas (8-4) in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, Coffman expects to hear back from the NFL advisory committee that offers advice to juniors who think they may want to enter the draft. The committee suggests which round in the draft it believes a player would be picked. Coffman sent in an application that includes mostly game film.

Until he hears back, he won't decide whether to turn pro.

"As of right now I'm almost positive I'll be staying," Coffman said. "Whenever we get this thing back that predicts what round, I'll sit down and think a little bit more."

Last year, Coffman's fellow tight end, Martin Rucker, went through the same process. Given a fifth-round prediction, he returned for his senior season and became a first-team All-American.

Missouri's Chase Coffman, top, attempts to go up and over Oklahoma defenders D.J. Wolfe, left, and Marcus Walker, right, in the fourth quarter of a college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2007. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Coffman is third on the team with 51 catches for 523 yards and seven touchdowns. Those numbers could have been better had he not suffered an ankle injury Oct. 13 against Oklahoma, a game in which he caught 10 passes for 102 yards.

The injury has lingered since then, and he missed some of Missouri's 36-28 win over then-top-ranked Kansas on Nov. 24, and the Tigers' loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game Dec. 1.

A week after that game, Coffman underwent surgery, but is expected to be healthy for the Cotton Bowl.

"It's still a little bit weak," he said. "Just trying to get out there and doing as much as I can. "

Quarterback Chase Daniel said having Coffman back for the bowl game, after the first missed action of his career, will definitely be a plus. And right after the season ends Daniel will begin trying to convince Coffman to return for the 2008 season, just like he did to get Rucker and wide receiver Will Franklin to return for this season.

"No doubt about it, I'm going to talk to him. Me and Chase are really good friends," Daniel said. "But we'll worry about that at the end of the season."

Tebow honored by AP

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Tim Tebow's unprecedented season keeps getting better.

The Florida quarterback won AP Player of the Year honors Tuesday in a vote that was similar to the one that made him the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy.

Tebow received 31 of a possible 58 votes from AP poll voters. Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, the Heisman runner-up, received 19 votes.

Tebow became the first player in major college history to run for at least 20 touchdowns and throw 20 TD passes in the same season.

Cheating scandal hits FSU

An academic cheating scandal could leave Florida State without as many as 25 players for its Music City Bowl game against Kentucky on New Year's Eve, coach Bobby Bowden said Tuesday.

It was the latest off-field blow to a once-proud program trying to regain its footing as a national power.

Many of the players who won't be going to Nashville could also be ruled ineligible for some games next season for their connection to a cheating scandal earlier this year.

-- AP

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