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Jake Coffman

Northern Illinois University
Defensive End


Jake Coffman graduated in May with a degree in sociology and is doing post-graduate work in political science. He earned Victory Scholar status (3.0-3.49 GPA) within Northern Illinois University’s Academic Excellence program during the 2009-10 academic year.


Coffman embodies the words character, leadership and class. He went to Northern Illinois as a walk-on in 2006 after serving two tours in Iraq as a member of the United States Marine Corps, where he rose to the rank of corporal. During his time in Iraq, he was in charge of setting up power grids and communications lines for his infantry unit. In the past two years, Coffman, 26, has taken on a leadership role on the Huskie team, serving as a member of the NIU Leadership Council. He leads Northern Illinois out of the locker room each week, carrying the American flag as NIU honors those who serve.  His teammates and coaches admire and look up to Coffman while media who interview him conclude by thanking him for his service.  He hates the spotlight and has to be convinced to talk about himself.  A year ago, the Columbus Touchdown Club named him its Male Athlete of the Year, in part because of his athletic success but also because of the person he is and the honor he has brought to his country, his school and to college football.


Active in the DeKalb-Sycamore community, Coffman has worked with several different charities and groups during his time at NIU. In the summer of 2010, he assisted the University Women’s Club as they held their Sycamore’s Treasures from the Attic event, a citywide yard sale. The profits from the yard sale help fund scholarships for local women. Coffman also works with Hope Haven, a shelter for underprivileged families, and has volunteered his time at a local nursing home and with the DeKalb Red Cross. He is also involved with a Veteran’s group on campus.


Coffman earned second-team All-MAC honors, plus a first-team nod from Phil Steele, after recording a team-leading 8.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss in 2009. Coffman, who was selected as the team’s defensive MVP, also notched 39 tackles and two fumble recoveries while playing both defensive end and nose guard.