Coffman: “I just want an opportunity to play somewhere”

In his first season at Indiana, Cameron Coffman posted one of the most prolific passing seasons in Indiana history. By the end of his second, he realized that the odds were prohibitively against him ever starting another game as the Hoosiers’ quarterback.

On Wednesday, IU coach Kevin Wilson announced through a video posted on the Indiana football Twitter account that the rising senior Coffman had decided to transfer and use his final year of college football eligibility elsewhere. In the same video, Wilson announced that redshirt sophomore linebacker Jordan Wallace would also transfer, and that defensive end John Laihinen and cornerback Brian Williams would graduate and not use their respective fifth years of eligibility.

Coffman leaves a bigger mark on the IU record book than any of the other three, but his transfer may have been the least surprising. He was the odd man out in Indiana’s three-man quarterback competition in preseason camp. Sophomores Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson split snaps with Sudfeld throwing for 2,523 yards and 21 touchdowns and Roberson throwing for 1,128 yards and 15 scores while also rushing for 423 yards and five scores. Coffman, meanwhile, completed two of just nine passes for 29 yards and appeared in just three games. 

Sudfeld and Roberson return next season, so Coffman didn’t see that changing for his senior season.

“I just want an opportunity to play somewhere,” Coffman said. “I realized Nate is a very good quarterback and so is Tre. I don’t see myself getting that opportunity here, so I’m going to try to find another spot where I can play.”

Coffman didn’t have to wait long to play at Indiana initially. The Peculiar, Mo., native committed to the Hoosiers in January of 2012 after throwing for 2,244 yards and 21 touchdowns in a season at Arizona Western Community College and leading that squad to the NJCAA national championship game. Right around the time he committed, Indiana’s Edward Wright-Baker and Dusty Kiel left the program.

Coffman and Roberson were the only two quarterbacks in the program that spring, and Sudfeld joined in the fall. Roberson won the three-man quarterback battle that season, but broke his leg in the season’s second game at Massachusetts. With Sudfeld still brand new to college, Coffman became the de facto starter. He threw for 2,734 yards that season, ranking second in the Big Ten in passing yards per game and claiming the No. 4 spot at Indiana in all-time single-season passing yards. He also finished third in Indiana in single-season completion percentage (.607), fourth in completions (247) and fourth in attempts (407). The Hoosiers finished 4-8, but he and Sudfeld combined to put Indiana first in the conference in passing yards.

“It just happened to be right for me and for them with Tre going down,” Coffman said. “I was able to fill in and do OK.”

But Sudfeld and Roberson both matured over the next season. Roberson always had more athleticism than both of them, and Sudfeld got command of the offense and combined it with his rocket arm.

“Nate from his freshman to his sophomore year,” Coffman said, “that’s a completely different player.”

So Coffman is on the move, though he hasn’t yet found a landing spot and is going to spend the spring semester taking classes in Bloomington. He still has a redshirt year available along with one season of eligibility, so he can afford to sit out one year. For that reason, he has his sight set on playing in the Football Bowl Subdivision of Division I, formerly known as Division I-A. If that doesn’t work out, he will look to the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA, where he would be able to play right away.

“I just want to be able to compete against someone for the starting position,” Coffman said. “It’s gotta be the right fit. It wouldn’t be a good idea to go somewhere that has a returning starter, because they would definitely be giving him every opportunity to keep the job. I want to go somewhere where I can compete against someone who’s never had a starting job.”

Wilson said that he’s going to try to find Coffman such a place.

“he’s a great player,” Wilson said on the video. “Great kid. Was in a great competition this past year, but in a very competitive deal with Nate and Tre, he kinda came in where he’s the odd man out. He’s got a great attitude, he’s a great student, well over a 3.0. He’s just looking to transfer to find a place to play here. … We’re working to help him find a spot.”

Wallace will also look for a spot. He was a highly-regarded recruit out of Warren Central in the Class of 2012, but played little this season behind a talented corps of freshman linebackers that included T.J. Simmons, Marcus Oliver and Clyde Newton. He broke into the two-deep at times this season, but did not record a tackle. He did not return a call seeking comment.

Lahinen, a former walk-on, moves on after leading the team in sacks with 4.5 and tackles for loss with 7.0. His sack total was the most by an IU defensive end since Darius Johnson had 4.5 in 2010. Williams started at cornerback in 2012 and recorded 58 tackles, an interception and eight pass break-ups, but appeared in just two games in 2013, recording two tackles.


  1. “I just want to be able to compete against someone for the starting position,”…isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

    For today’s entitled generation there is no such thing as a backup after growing up being told your the best at everything. I feel bad for the 28 year old version of Cam and the regret he’ll feel.

  2. News flash Cameron, you did compete against someone, two to be exact, and you finished third in the competition.

  3. You guys are so correct! But, it’s a good thing that Troy Aikman and Joe Flacco aren’t as smart as you. Just think, they could be making uninformed statements on sports blogs, rather performing their current jobs.

  4. Jay – there is a big difference between those players and transfer situations. You’re being very disingenuous with your examples not to mention I don’t appreciate your personal jabs at me.

  5. Both Aikman and Flacco transfered during their college careers, where’s the diference? There’s nothing personal Aruss.

  6. Aruss you are shortsighted on this 1. CC is a competitor and performed admirably when IU needed him most at QB. I’d have him anytime just as Wilson said he would. How did the Kiel Bros. before him work out? They obviously are not competitors. They deserve you scorn. CC was 2nd in the conference in passing in 2012. He has shown what he can do and now he is targeting what he wants. He will have no trouble finding a place he gets a chance to either start or be in a rotation. For his situation at IU he has made the right choice. Get over it.

  7. Cam filled in well when IU needed him most, and for that I am a thankful fan.

    As for him transferring, how anyone can fault him is beyond me. He competed, finished behind two younger and more talented players. By all reports, he accepted his role last season, done what was asked by the coaching staff and help his fellow players to try to be the best players they could be.

    Now he has a choice, he can stay at IU for another season and fight for a spot against better players, or he can move on, find a new school and have a real shot to be a starter and make the most of what will probably be his final year in uniform.

    Good luck CC!

  8. There is no scorn on my part as an IU fan. With Diamont on campus, we have great depth at QB. I was thinking more of the shortsighted view of Cam putting one year of being starting QB at a Kennessaw St. type of school ahead of a lifetime value of an IU degree and being part of a team that turned IU’s football fortunes.

    If he transfers to UCLA and goes on to the pros then I’ll stop posting at the Scoop because I obviously know nothing. But I’m 100% sure Dustin agrees with me on this.

  9. The last sentence of post #1 defines the scorn you hold for Coffman. Find something else to blow off about because you’ve fouled this 1 up.

  10. How do you know he’ll regret leaving? If he stays and never sees the field again at IU, he’ll probably regret hanging around. The guy obviously loves playing football and realizes he has one more year left to do so in his life.

  11. Aruss,

    Do you have a beeper on your ass? You’re backing up so fast you need to warn people to get out of your way so they don’t get hurt!

    Your entire 1st post was nothing but “scorn” and disdain toward Cam Coffman. No matter how you try to spin it now.

    I am 100% sure that wherever Dustin is, he got ill when you posted that he agrees with you, without even reading it!

  12. Mike P – I could already declare myself the winner of our basketball bet because this year’s team accomplished something last year’s didn’t by beating UW but I won’t because I take the high road…like I’m doing with this transfer conversation.

    And believe me that Dustin sees the big picture when it comes to life and agrees with me.

  13. Please. The kid wants to play in his senior year. I intended to quit during my HSFB senior year ’cause I was not starting and no way was it happening given the beast named Steve starting in front of me who was playing both sides of the ball (center/nose). Fortunately after the first game the coaches decided to play Steve only at center to improve his college ball prospects, so I moved into his spot on defense. Steve continued to pound me every day in practice, but at least I got to play in the games! And Steve got his D1 offer.

  14. Aruss,
    I actually posted something last night and took it down because it was too opinionated. But I don’t know that I’ve ever disagreed with you more strongly than on this. Two points.
    1. Nobody ever laid on their death bed and wished they’d spent more time holding a clipboard instead of actually playing football.
    2. Indiana isn’t the only good college in the world. I know this is shocking information. And (gasp!) some of those good schools play I-AA football. (He might not think so, but I think the FCS is in his future. No rip there.) Wilson said Coffman is well over a 3.0. He’s going to do fine academically and therefore be perfectly employable.

  15. Obviously, he puts greater value on starting and playing than he does on getting his degree from IU. Nothing wrong with that if your first priority is playing football. It’s not like he’s going to be a part of a team with the opportunity to win the National Championship, or even go to the Rose Bowl. That might be worth staying on the team for another year. Furthermore, given IU’s defense, he’s figured out that he’s not even going to get much garbage time next season since IU is going to need to score on every possession next season as well.

  16. While we’re talking football, anyone notice that the new Defensive Coordinator at Louisville, hired away from Georgia, is now making $1,000,000 a year. That’s Louisville!
    He was making $850,000 a year at Georgia. To put that in perspective, Mallory was making $300,000 a year at IU.

    You get what you pay for. Do you want a winning football program at IU? It costs a lot of money. Louisville made a statement. By the way, what is the seating capacity of Louisville’s football stadium and their average attendance at home games?

  17. Louisville’s stadium holds like 56,000. IU’s is 52,929. UofL has attendance issues, even with their success, Strong complained loudly about empty seats and people not showing up to their walk.

    With that said, UofL gets so much more corporate money than IU. They have Yum, Papa Johns, etc. Glass is willing to up the salaries, but its not going to be in the millions for assistants. Very few assistants make that kind of money, and I think UofL overpaid. But, its their money, so…

  18. Yikes…if this is your unopinionated version, I’d hate to see what you wrote last night. Anyone here who went to IU recalls their years as some of the best of their life. Him skipping from school to school deprives him of that plus an IU degree & being on the football team opens doors on Wall St., K St. and in Silicon Valley.

  19. I know. It’s impossible he’ll make friends at another school because college is a total drag everywhere else. Also, no other good schools have connections. Just Indiana. (For the record, he was a general studies major so it’s not like he was really locked in on Wall Street or K Street or Silicon Valley.)
    He was still on the football team for two years and he didn’t burn any bridges. Wilson will find him a place to play now and he’ll be as helpful for Coffman as any other player he’s had when it comes time to get a job. Wilson gets this move, so do the other coaches and so do his teammates. Everyone gets into football because they want to actually play football. The rest of the guys understand it so they’re not going to hold it against him.

  20. Dustin – are you giving me a hard time because I burned you on the build a Wisconsin player post yesterday?

    All IU grads here get my point. You’d understand if IU was flowing through your blood.

  21. Sorry Aruss, I’m an IU grad and I don’t agree with you. As I said, Coffman obviously finds playing football more valuable than getting his degree from IU. Nothing wrong with that. You act like Coffman has offended all IU grads because he decided to transfer and play instead of stay and ride the bench. His decision makes sense, and there are a lot of high quality FCS schools with solid football programs out there. You only go around once in this life, so if he loves playing football (in the games), then he’s doing what is best for him. IU will survive in spite of his transfer.

  22. Jimmy, thanks, but it was a rhetorical question. My point is, how does Louisville justify paying an assistant coach $1,000,000 per when their capacity is about the same as IU’s. If corporate money is the key, i suggest Glass start making some calls.

  23. Podunker,

    If we could sell out Memorial Stadium, or pack it nearly full every game, we could probably throw some serious cash around, and upgrade our coaches. I read somewhere where a successful football program brings in more money, then a successful basketball team. If IU could only get a dedicated fan base at The Rock, then IU wouldn’t have to worry about quality coaches on the football side. The money would be earned by putting butts in the seats. However, for that to happen, we must have something to cheer about, and make some bowls first.

    Also, you seem to be down on IU’s defense. I am too, but at least some help is on the way. I mean it won’t be all sunshine and lollipops, but hopefully the guys teachings will make quicker impact then what Mallory’s did.

  24. @Podunker

    UL is throwing money around for the sake of throwing money around. They are paying a million to a guy that coached a Georgia defense that had some issues. He’s a decent coach, but certainly not a guru of some sorts. They could have easily gotten a comparable DC for $600-700K, but that might have meant getting turned down by a few people in the process, but doing so would hurt the UL ego. They are desperate to act like a big dog program, but are more like Boise State than Alabama.

  25. PB, So true and now they add Petrino’s ego in with L’ville and they had to make a big splash somehow to get the headlines. The future will be an entertaining scene down there.

  26. Points: 1)-GA gave up 42 points to LSU. 2) Louisville would kill to have IU’s B1G money. 3) Dustin, there are probably double or triple the number of guys who make some aspect of football their career for life than the number of players in the NFL each year. Most coaches were/are not former NFL players. However, virtually 100% of coaches got their start in coaching by showing both loyalty and potential coaching talent to their college football coaches. So if Cam Coffman wishes for a career in football, he made a mistake. He will never play in the NFL! But if he “carried a clipboard” around IU for the next year, dove in to teaching Diamont all he can, was ready for the call when Nate or Tre goes down, which is almost a certainty, he could set himself up to be a Wilson protege. Coach Wilson has shown the football world that he is a great offensive football coach with a special talent for developing great QB’s! Cam would maximize his football training, Have an IU degree, which is valuable, and be in line to start his football career upon graduation. 1 year at North Dakota St, or Northern IL, will not do this. But he wants to play now, not coach in June of 2015. He is a good kid and I wish him all of the best. But you are wrong about “carrying the clipboard”!

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