Stacy Coley, arguably the top wide receiver in the state and the 4th best wideout in the country according to ESPN, could make his college decision as soon as Monday.
“I’ll narrow it down Monday,” the Northeast High School senior says. “I’ll probably have my decision Monday.”
But don’t expect a public announcement until National Signing Day on Wednesday. Coley is scheduled to make the decision live on national TV at 11 a.m.
The consensus leaders are three in-state powers, Florida State, Miami and USF, with the Seminoles perhaps having the edge. But Coley isn’t tipping his hand.
“I really don’t have a top 5 or top 3,” he told NBC 6 before the weekend. “I’m just looking to keep it all open right now.”
Coley has the tools that have attracted over 1,000 letters from top schools across the country. He’s 6’1”, 175 pounds, with 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash. He’s also the only uncommitted wideout in the top 15 of Rivals.com, leading to a high-stakes relentless recruiting push.
“Sophomore, junior year, it was fun. My senior year, it became reality. It became bigger than what it was. I’m still happy to see all the colleges that I had, but frustrated at the same time, just wishing I could be an average student again,” Coley says.
In his 3 varsity seasons with Northeast, Coley has caught at least 30 passes for 500 yards and 7 touchdowns each season, including a personal-best 10 this past year. He’s also added 5 rushing scores for a total of 29 during his time in Oakland Park, earning a spot in the Under Armour national all-star game.
Coley’s speed makes him a deep threat. He’s averaging more than 20 yards a catch. And in this day of wide-open, pass first offenses, it’s no surprise how much his athleticism is coveted.
He’s been getting a hard sell from FSU. ‘Noles Passing Game Coordinator and Wide Receivers Coach Lawrence Dawsey has built up a steady relationship with Coley and the all-county star has made a trip to Tallahassee.
But, Miami is heavily in the mix too. He was one of many recruits at the UM/Duke men’s basketball game in Coral Gables that featured a capacity crowd storming the court after a rout of the former number 1 team. His coach may also have a say. Former Hurricanes fullback Donnell Bennett runs the Northeast football program.
“Coach Bennett and most of my coaches like the U,” Coley admits. “But I feel like wherever my decision is, they’ll be behind me 100 percent, even though they’re messing around with me with the U.”
What may not work in Miami’s favor is the departure of George McDonald. McDonald served as Miami’s wide receivers coach last season, but left to become offensive coordinator at Syracuse. He was heavily involved in Coley’s recruiting process.
The teenager is doing his best to handle the pressure of the big decision.
“With the huge decision on my shoulders, I try to stay away from that. I have good coaches, a good principal, and a good family that just try to keep everything off my shoulders due to the fact that I’m so young.”
Coley isn’t comfortable with the spotlight, which in this day of divas at receiver is surprising.
“I get nervous in front of cameras. I’m not your ordinary average ranked player. I don’t like the attention,” he says. “I’m just a nice kid, a hard-working kid, willing to work wherever the coaches say.”
“I stay smiling through bad times and good times. I like to laugh a lot. I get compliments on my laugh,” Coley says with a grin before adding, “Girls say I have pretty teeth and a good smile.”
He won’t be the only one grinning on Signing Day Wednesday. You can rest assured his mom, Chantelle, will be beaming too. And crying.
“I’d bet the house on that one,” jokes Bennett.
“I think she’ll feel happy,” Coley says with pride. “Growing up, seeing my mama struggle and for her to see I have an offer on the table and have college paid for, that’s a big plus. Me, being the first boy to go to college and to achieve everything she always wanted in her kids, I think she’ll be tremendous about my decision.”
If his words don’t express his bond with his mom, a look at his left forearm does. Coley wears a heart tattoo with his mom’s name on it.
“It symbolizes the love that I have for my mom. I cherish her so much and the things that we’ve been through,” he says.
It’s just one of three pieces of body art. The senior also has one of the comedy and tragedy masks on the same arm.
“Joy and pain. It just resembles the hard work and the happiness of the hard work in your success. All of my tattoos mean something.”
Coley’s freshest ink will come Wednesday, when he finally ends the speculation, signing on the dotted line on a scholarship offer.
“I wouldn’t be here without football. I wouldn’t have the success that I have without football. Football is life.”