Dexter McCoil grew up rapidly while at TU
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Sunday, December 30, 2012
12/30/12 at 8:14 AM
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Dexter McCoil was 17 years old and 170 pounds when he played his first college football game at Tulsa.
He is now the Golden Hurricane's all-time interception leader, an NFL prospect, and his 6-foot-5 frame checks in at 218 pounds.
The defensive back will play his final contest in Monday's Liberty Bowl against Iowa State.
"After the game is over, it'll hit me," McCoil said during a Saturday news conference. "It'll be a bittersweet feeling. It's been a good season so far, and it couldn't end in a better way than playing in the Liberty Bowl."
McCoil played in the 2009 season opener as a reserve safety. He was thrust into a more prominent and, soon after, starter's role when Charles Davis was injured in the season's third game at Oklahoma.
There were ups and downs in McCoil's freshman season. He ended with 85 tackles (third-best on the team) and was named an honorable mention freshman All-American.
McCoil also had a critical mistake in an improbable loss to Houston when he failed to cover up an onside kick. The Cougars capped a nine-points-in-21-seconds comeback moments later with a field goal.
"I'm never going to forget that for the rest of my life. I'm a big person and I typically lost that game. That's how I feel," McCoil said.
"That's the thing that you look back at in college. You know how bad it was and know how good it can be. I'm blessed and, even though everything hasn't gone my way, I love playing this great game of football."
McCoil has had more good things than bad. His 17 interceptions are the most in Tulsa history. He also has drawn interest from NFL scouts, who are intrigued by his size.
"We've had quite a few people come through and ask about him," Tulsa defensive coordinator Brent Guy said. "It's his frame. He's a big hitter and makes tackles in space. He plays special teams. I think he'll have an opportunity."
McCoil has added nearly 50 pounds since walking onto campus.
"It was good for me," said McCoil, who has been projected as a late-round draft selection. "I was skinny. It's taken a lot of hard work and dedication."
McCoil said he has built lifelong relationships at Tulsa.
"It's a brotherhood," McCoil said. "These guys, I've sweated and grinded with. We've all gone through the same things and have that love for one another. That's something I'm going to miss."
Original Print Headline: McCoil grew up rapidly at TU
Eric Bailey 918-581-8391