Former Steamboat Springs linebacker Westin Cofer, pictured Thursday at Gardner Field in Steamboat, is transferring from Mesa State College to Georgia Southern University to play football.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Former Steamboat Springs linebacker Westin Cofer, pictured Thursday at Gardner Field in Steamboat, is transferring from Mesa State College to Georgia Southern University to play football.

Former Steamboat linebacker transferring for a fresh football start

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— Westin Cofer is starting anew.

The former two-time All-State linebacker at Steamboat Springs High School is transferring from Mesa State College in Grand Junction to Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga.

Cofer, who sat out his first year to redshirt, was expected to start on special teams and backup both outside linebacker positions at Mesa this year.

But when the opportunity to travel and play for a relatively large college presented itself, Cofer said, it was an opportunity he couldn't pass up.

"I wanted to get back East closer to family," Cofer said. "I was looking for a school where I could have the opportunity to play."

In Georgia Southern, Cofer has found one of the most successful teams ever to compete in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA).

The Eagles have six national championships - two more than any other school - and are consistently in the top 10 in the nation.

Last year, the team lost to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, 42-34. The team opens on the road this year at No. 1 Georgia.

Cofer, who didn't draw as much interest after his senior year of high school because of tonsillitis, has spent the better part of two years in the weight room. He left high school at 185 pounds and will enter the Georgia Southern program at 215 pounds. Ideally, Cofer said, he'd like to add another 10 pounds before he starts playing. Because of NCAA transfer rules, Cofer will have to sit out the fall and pick up football again in January.

He said he's been in contact with the coaches and is just waiting on his grades from Mesa to go through.

"It's like I'm totally starting over," Cofer said. "I'm building myself from the bottom up, so to speak. It's like getting recruited again."

Cofer plans to leave for Georgia on Saturday, with school set to begin Aug. 18. Although he said it will be hard to leave Mesa - especially because he was expected to see live game action for the first time since his senior year - Cofer said the overall college experience of Georgia Southern drew him back to the South.

"Sometimes," he said, "that's just the price you have to pay."

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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