The last time Oviedo High School saw a running back like Keonte Coffie was four years ago when Jurell “Rat” Green, set the school record with 4,782 career rushing yards.
With 3,133 yards under his belt, Keonte (pronounced Chianti) Coffie enters his senior year with a shot at knocking off the reigning champ, Jurell Green (class of 2015).
Averaging 1,566 yards on the ground over the past two years
, Coffie needs to rush for 1,650 yards during his senior season to earn the Oviedo High yardage crown.
It makes one wonder how many yards Coffie would have accumulated carrying the ball if an injury didn’t force him to sit out much of his freshman year after being called up to the varsity squad.
“I am excited about it,” says Coffie concerning his run for the record. “I have been working hard and knowing I am close, I want to achieve it.”
“He has had some incredible games,” says Head Coach Matt Dixon. “His sophomore year, he ran 353 against Hagerty High, one yard short of the Oviedo single-game rushing record set by Leon Lowman in 1991. We looked at it many times to be sure he really came up short.”
2018 Seminole County Offensive Player of the Year
Coffie’s accolades run deep. Among his accomplishments, the star running back was named the 2018 Seminole County Offensive Player of the Year and 2018 Orlando Touchdown Club Player of the Year.
He was also named to All-Conference, All-District and All-State teams for the second consecutive year.
Coach Dixon refers to Coffie as the heart and soul of the Lions.
“He is a hard worker in the weight room and on the field,” says Coach Dixon. “He is really an incredible young man. Players look to him during drills. He sets the example. In football, you get a few warriors who will always give you their best. Keonte is a warrior.”
“I have always known I was a good player, but not this big,” says the humble running back, who is also on the track team this year.
Coffie also does a yeoman’s job of receiving out in the flat
. He has one receiving touchdown in his career and one passing touchdown, which occurred against University last year after both dressed quarterbacks were lost for the game.
“He was in there just to run the ball, but [Running Back Coach Andrew] Dennis told him if he saw a bubble, take it. And he did.”
More telling, the four-year varsity letterman fumbled the ball only once thus far in his high school career. Coach Dennis says holding onto the ball is a “real point of emphasis” with Coffie.
“Keonte makes my job easy,” says Coach Dennis. “He leads by example.”
A Family Affair
Coffie will wear No. 5 on his back this year — the number his father wore when he played football at Oviedo High. He wore it briefly during his freshman tenure, but the number was already taken during his sophomore and junior years.
He chose to wear numbers 22 and 2, respectively. Whatever the number is, Coffie just likes being out on the field.
“I like hearing my mom screaming my name in the crowd,” he smiles. “I like being part of a team, and all of the fun and excitement under the lights.”
The passion for football apparently runs in the family genes. Not only did his dad play for Oviedo, but his cousin Jay Henry (DE/HB) will finish his Oviedo football career this year as well.
Keonte’s younger brother Xavier (DL) and cousin, DJ Scott (RB) will begin their Lions careers on the freshman team this fall.
The outlook for Coffie’s senior year looks to be just as bright as in his previous seasons. In the annual spring game against Winter Springs
last month, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound running back ran for 237 yards and scored two touchdowns in only three-quarters of work.
Without a doubt, all eyes will be on Keonte Coffie this fall as he not only pursues the Oviedo High yardage record but also as scouts begin to take a closer look at the Oviedo backfield warrior.
While Blake Bortles, class of ’10, may be the most famous and successful football player to emerge from Oviedo, nine years later, we could be witnessing a star right before our eyes.
Oviedo High’s first regular season game is a conference match-up at home vs. the Winter Springs Bears on August 23.