Destin Coates has received quite a bit of attention from colleges for the performances he displays every Friday night. Through the nine game regular season he has rushed for 1,170 yards on 129 carries along with 17 touchdowns.
The Rickards Raider’s junior running back played in all nine games this season. He helped his team finish the regular season on an eight-game win streak. The Raiders are 8-1, and 2-0 in their district 5A. They won the city championship and also won the district championship for the first time in 15 years.
“I think we are the best team in Tallahassee. We can make a state run and be state champions for the first time in school history,” Coates said. “For us to go far just [we have to] staying composed and staying disciplined.”
Coates averages nine yards per carry and 135 rushing yards a game. He has received four offers this season from the University of Alabama Birmingham, University of Central Florida, University of Southern Mississippi and Troy. Based on his play he could have more offers coming. He ranks in the top-40 running backs in the state of Florida.
“He’s doing a great job. He is learning how to work hard, how to continue to push himself, how to reach limits that he has never reached before,” Raiders head coach Quinton Lewis said. “I think that’s his biggest thing. He comes out here every day ready to work, ready to compete and ready to get better. We have been seeing him challenge his teammates now for them to be great also and now it is all meshing together.”
Coates isn’t only a star on the football field but also a star in the classroom. He has maintained above a 3.0 GPA taking higher level courses. With his GPA and ACT scores being well over the NCAA D-1 athlete’s requirements he is eligible to play immediately at the next level.
“I can’t say enough about his GPA and his 22 or 25 on ACT,” Lewis said. “He is a great student, even when the guidance counselor challenged him to take harder courses he accepted those challenges and is making straight A’s right now. He is a great student and that’s the biggest thing.”
Raiders’ running back coach Devin Rispress has been working with Coates since June and believes he may be the best running back to touch Rickards campus by the time he graduates. Rispress said he is a man amongst boys when on the football field. Rispress said he believes Coates is a few light years ahead of his age.
“I have worked on blocking keeping his composure and besides that he’s a well-rounded running back and has a god given talent,” Raiders running back coach Devin Rispress said. “Besides that he has come in polished but I polished him a little more with keeping his composure, blocking and also reading the holes and being a little more patient.”
Coates’s work ethic shows up in the way he plays the game and also the way he makes sure the team keeps their composure on Fridays. He lets his play in the game do the talking.
“His work ethic is real good, we can improve on it a little more,” coach Rispress said. “The only reason I say that is because we are going to get him on the track. We are going to get him faster, bigger and stronger. He comes out and works hard every day. There hasn’t been a day since he came here back in June that he hasn’t worked hard or even make me have to tell him to go harder.”
Coates feels more comfortable after he transferred from Mosley to Rickards. He has dreams of playing on Sundays in the future.
“I feel like it’s been the best decision I made thus far to come back home and play for Rickards high school. We beat Wakulla and beat Godby and won the district championship for the first time in 15 years,” Coates said. “My goal is to make it to the NFL and one day be able to take care of all my family.”