Remember when second-team all-MAC defensive end Jake Coffman decided several months ago to forego his final year of eligibility in order to get a jump on his career with the government?
Well, Coffman's plans have changed. The former Marine Corps corporal, who served two stints in Iraq before arriving at NIU four years ago, recently informed NIU coach Jerry Kill that he intends to return for one more year.
While splitting time between defensive end and nose guard last season -- the 6-foot-5, 255-pounder moved inside at midseason due to the team's injury problems -- Coffman led the Huskies with 13.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.
"It's just like a big-time Christmas present," said Huskies defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys, and not just because of his big-time production. "We're just excited about having him back. Leadership-wise and everything, he just makes you a better team when he walks in the room -- let alone (improve) the depth on defense."
Coffman's return gives NIU three terrific every-down defensive ends. The Huskies also expect big things from sophomore Sean Progar (6-3, 255) and Buffalo Grove alum Alan Baxter (6-0, 259), both of whom excelled during spring ball.
Senior Darnell Bolding and redshirt freshmen Stephen O'Neal and Anthony Wells are being counted on as pass-rush specialists.
As for Coffman's career plans? According to Claeys, he plans to pursue a future with the FBI after the 2010 season concludes.