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If he’s reluctant to admit it, you can’t really blame him.
Nathan Coehoorn has been living in the shadow of fellow receiver and Dinos teammate Anthony Parker for years, but that’s all about to end.
Ranked as the No. 1 and No. 2 receivers in this year’s CFL draft class, Parker and Coehoorn have been drawing comparisons from CFL coaches and scouts for the entire E-Camp weekend.
“I feel like I tested well this weekend and definitely have the ability to be the first receiver taken.”-Nathan Coehoorn, REC, Calgary
In fact, the two former roommates have developed a bit of a friendly competition.
“We know how each other tests for the most part and we used to be roommates so we had little beef going back and forth but it’s all friendly, I’m happy for him,” said Coehoorn.
Even though Parker is projected as the top receiver to be taken in the draft, don’t count Coehoorn out.
“I’d love to be the first receiver taken, that’s definitely been a goal of mine from day one,” admitted Coehoorn.
“I feel like I tested well this weekend and definitely have the ability to be the first receiver taken so we’ll see what happens,” he said.
Coehoorn isn’t the only one who believes that he could leap frog Parker and become the first receiver to come off the board.
“I’ve talked to a number of different people here and I’d say it’s split about 50-50 on who they think will go first,” said one CFL team’s receivers coach.
“He’s a physical presence; he’s probably a little slicker than a Clermont and brings about the same speed as a (Chris) Bauman.”
“To be successful at the next level he’s going to have to work on his route-running,” he added.
Coehoorn is a big body at 6’2” 220 pounds, and prides himself on his ability to come off of the line and be physical with defensive backs and linebackers.
“I definitely focus on being a big, physical receiver, banging guys off the line and going up to get the ball,” said Coehoorn.
“Playing in the slot means that you’re going to have contact on pretty much every play,” he said.
Growing up with two older brothers that played football at the university level, it was a foregone conclusion that young Nathan would strap the pads on one day.
“In Medicine Hat we’re known as a pretty big football family, so it’s been good looking up to brothers,” said Coehoorn.
“I didn’t start playing football until I was in grade ten but after my third year of Junior I made the decision to do my best to play at a professional level,” he said.
Coehoorn performed well during testing posting a 4.65 in the 40-yard dash, 15 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and jumping 35.5 inches in the vertical jump.
All in all, not a phenomenal performance, but still well enough to stay in the upper echelons of the 2011 receiver class.
When the first club goes on the clock on draft day, a team’s specific needs will most likely dictate which of Calgary’s receivers hears his name called first.
But whether it’s Parker or Coehoorn, the real winners will be CFL fans who can look forward to that same friendly competition for years to come.