Jack Coan didn't just watch the NFL Draft on Thursday night. He dared to dream . . . him on stage . . . embracing the commissioner . . . donning a team cap as a first-round draft choice. The kid from little old Sayville playing with the big boys.
"It's every kid's dream to play in the NFL. When I watched the draft, I was thinking that maybe one day that could be me," said Coan, the 16-year-old sophomore who this week may have taken the first step toward making that dream a reality.
Coan, a Newsday first-team All-Long Island selection last fall after setting Long Island records for touchdown passes (40) and yards passing (3,431), so thoroughly impressed the University of Miami's James Coley during a private but not secret throwing session at Sayville High School on Wednesday afternoon that the Hurricanes' offensive coordinator offered him a scholarship on the spot. So did Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore
"That was pretty exciting. I never expected to get an offer," said Coan, also a blue-chip lacrosse recruit who last summer made a verbal commitment to Notre Dame. It's a commitment that, for the moment, he is honoring, saying he has not decided which sport he will play in college. "I'm going to take my time, enjoy the recruiting process and see what happens."
What has happened is that Coan's world has exploded since Wednesday, when he posted on his Twitter account that Miami had offered a scholarship. Quickly, Penn State followed him on Twitter, Michigan pulled a recruiter off the road to schedule a visit to Sayville this week, and schools such as Maryland, Boston College, Rutgers, Syracuse and Virginia intensified their interest in the still-growing 6-3, 185-pound Coan, who also happens to be an A student ranked in the top 10 in his class.
It may seem like a lot of attention focused on a young man who is only halfway through his high school career. But it's actually the norm for a big-time quarterback prospect, according to Sayville football coach Rob Hoss, who organizes Coan's thrice-a-week passing sessions around the player's lacrosse schedule. Hoss also is the one who sent a highlights video of Coan to many major colleges, including Miami, which was so impressed it flew Coley to New York this week.
"That's how it works for the quarterback position. College football is a huge business. When you are a Division I FBS school, quarterbacks go early," Hoss said. "Jack is young, but in the scheme of things, this is not that unusual. This is the time for the top D-I programs."
Still, Hoss admitted he was "very surprised" that Miami made an offer so quickly on Wednesday. "This is the first time for me in that situation. Miami is a national program. I didn't know what to expect."
Coan put on a dazzling show. "The balls just didn't hit the ground. He threw unbelievably well," Hoss said. "All spring we've been working on his footwork and his throwing mechanics. He showed more velocity. He threw as great as you can throw. He threw like a kid who deserved a Division I scholarship."
Coan said the workout was fast-paced. He was asked to demonstrate proficiency in five- and three-step drop-back passes, displayed a few one-step quick releases and even took several snaps under center, something that is not part of Sayville's spread offense. Coan threw to current Sayville receivers plus one from Longwood who works out with him at Revolution Athletics.
"My arm was feeling pretty good,'' he said. "It was quick. Lots of pass routes. It took about 30 minutes."
The Sayville sports community noticed. The school district's superintendent, high school principal and several teachers watched their prized pupil. The baseball and boys lacrosse teams stopped practice to watch. Even the modest Coan said, "The whole thing was pretty cool."
The cool kid is now a very hot property.