Cofer commits to Hoop Vols

Phil Cofer

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Apparently, 2013 is the Year of the Legacy in Tennessee basketball, as well as football.

Phil Cofer, a highly regarded Class of 2014 power forward at Whitewater High in Fayetteville, Ga., has gone public with his commitment to play for the Vols. He is a son of former Big Orange football standout Mike Cofer, who also starred at Knoxville's Rule High School and went on to play a decade for the NFL's Detroit Lions.

Phil is a 6-foot-8, 205-pounder who turned heads with an impressive Afro and some even more impressive athleticism at Tennessee's Intense Skill Camp last summer. Though not yet rated by FOX Sports NEXT, he is tabbed a four-star recruit by both MaxPreps and ESPN, with the latter ranking him the No. 56 player nationally.

Here's how recruiting expert Evan Daniels of Fox described Cofer to InsideTennessee:

"He's an active, undersized 4 man that plays hard. He's going to have to get stronger and continue to develop his offense but I think he can help them (Vols) in the low post as an energy guy."

Young Cofer averaged 16.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per game as a junior in 2012-13 with 43 blocks in 23 games.

His best game saw him hit 15 of 19 shots and score 42 points Jan. 26 in an 84-80 defeat of Landmark Christian. He came back three nights later to hit 13 of 18 shots and score 27 points in a 65-54 defeat of Northgate on Jan. 29. He burned Northgate again on Feb. 14, sinking 14 of 23 shots en route to 30 points in a 63-50 win.

Cofer posted a season-high 13 rebounds twice. He recorded 12 rebounds in each of the meetings with Northgate, grabbing 6 off the offensive glass in the rematch. He had a season-high 5 blocked shots versus McIntosh on Jan. 15.

Cofer's junior stats also show him making 61.9 percent of his field-goal tries (153 of 247) and 57.7 percent from the foul line (75 of 130).

In addition to Tennessee, he was offered scholarships by Alabama, Georgia, Miami, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Cincinnati and Auburn.

Phil's father lettered at Tennessee as a defensive end in 1979, '80, '81 and '82, serving as a team captain his senior year. Mike Cofer started his last three years on campus but played just five games his sophomore season due to injury. He bounced back in a big way, posting 94 tackles as a junior and 84 as a senior.

Cofer might have been more heralded if he hadn't played alongside the most celebrated defensive player in Vol history, defensive tackle Reggie White (1980-83), the so-called "Minister of Defense."

After finishing his Vol career with 237 career tackles, 5 sacks, 9 fumbles forced and 5 fumbles recovered, Mike Cofer went on to play 10 distinguished seasons with the Lions. He moved to linebacker in the NFL but still recorded 62.5 sacks, including a career-high 12 in 1988, when he made the Pro Bowl.

Mike Cofer was diagnosed in 2007 with amyloidosis, a degenerative and incurable disease. A fund has been established to help with his medical expenses. Donations should be sent to:

Mike Cofer Rule High Fund

SunTrust Bank

7426 Chapman Highway

Knoxville, TN, 37920

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