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Carter Coughlin (no relation) makes name for himself

carter-coughlin
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Let's get this out of the way. No, he is not. And no, he has not.

But Carter Coughlin, a seventh-round draft choice by the Giants, still has a rich football heritage.

The outside linebacker from the University of Minnesota comes from a long line of Gophers. His father, Robert, played football there from 1986-90 and was a two-year letterwinner. His mother, Jennie (Moe), played tennis for Minnesota from 1989-92 and was a three-time all-conference selection and two-time team MVP. His grandfather, Tom Moe, lettered from 1957-59 and later served as interim athletic director for the Maroon and Gold for three years (1999-2002). His uncle, Mike Moe, lettered for the Gophers in the 1980s.

No one in the family tree is the person Giants fans immediately thought of when they saw the name come across the screen on the final day of the most-watched draft in NFL history.

"No, I've never met [Giants' two-time Super Bowl champion head coach Tom Coughlin], and we are not related," Coughlin said, "but I've got a bunch of people that have been asking me that over social media."

Now that we've cleared that up once and for all (probably not yet), Coughlin does have one connection to the Giants.

He was high school teammates with current Giants linebacker Ryan Connelly in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. The Giants drafted Connelly, who went across state lines to play at the University of Wisconsin, in the fifth round last year. He was off to a promising rookie campaign until he suffered a torn ACL in Week 4, shortly after he grabbed his second interception in as many games.

Coughlin overlapped with Connelly his freshman and sophomore years. Connelly, then the quarterback, helped Eden Prairie to three Minnesota Class 6A football state championships.

"It's awesome that he switched over to linebacker, it clearly worked out for him," Coughlin said. "He texted me on draft day and I got a chance to call him last night. He gave a rundown on a bunch of stuff, so it's awesome to connect with him and I will be able to get some awesome wisdom from him."

Coughlin added: "He was a monster as a quarterback. He was built like a linebacker, crazy athletic and super smart. All that obviously translated over to his linebacker game. I still remember him standing on the 50-yard line with his feet planted and being able to throw the ball all the way to the end zone without an issue. He had a cannon for an arm."

View photos of former Minnesota LB Carter Coughlin.

Versatility is also the name of the Coughlin's game, much like the rest of the first draft class with Joe Judge as head coach. At Minnesota, Coughlin played the team's "RUSH" position, which is hybrid outside linebacker mixed with defensive end.

It allowed him to drop into coverage, get after the quarterback, play off tight ends and make plays near the line of scrimmage. "I loved the RUSH position," he said.

The Giants drafted seven players on the final day of the draft (Rounds 4-7), and six of them play defense. Coughlin was the first of four picks made in the final round alone.

"The theme of the day was speed," Judge said. "[Coughlin is] a guy that gives us more speed on the edge. He brings some length with him. He plays with a high motor and a lot of aggressiveness. He was productive in Minnesota's scheme and with the way we are going to play guys on the edge in different packages, he's someone with a lot of value. He will come in here and compete."

The 6-foot-3, 236-pound Coughlin ran the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he also posted a vertical jump of 36 inches and a broad jump of 126 inches. Aside from the physical tools, Coughlin knows it is all about the details at the next level.

"I'd say to continue to harness in on some of the details that I think, since I've been out of college, that I've been able to identify, stuff that I really want to work on," said Coughlin, an Academic All-Big Ten selection in each of his last three years. "But I think a lot of it, too, is watching film. That played out a lot for me in college, identifying what the opposing offensive tackle struggles with, how he moves his feet, how he shoots his hands, whether he leans, all of that kind of stuff. I think that transfers even more to the NFL because from what I've heard it's a whole bunch of film and note taking and that's right up my wheelhouse. I'll be able to continue to develop those skills of learning and taking notes and watching film and all of that kind of stuff."

Coughlin finished his college career ranked third in Minnesota history with 22.5 sacks and fourth with 40 tackles for loss. In 2019, under Big Ten Coach of the Year P.J. Fleck, the Gophers won 11 games for the first time since 1904. Minnesota also won seven Big Ten games for the first time in school history, beat two top-10 teams, won a Jan. 1 bowl game and ended the season ranked No. 10. Defensive back Chris Williamson, another seventh-round pick by the Giants, was also a member of the historic team.

"I grew up a Gopher fan since the day I came out of the womb," Coughlin said. "For me, I took a lot of pride in the University of Minnesota. Being a Gopher fan for a while, it was kind of tough sometimes because there were a lot of years where it was down and then you would catch a glimmer of hope and it would go back down.

"When I was deciding where I wanted to go to school, I decided I wanted to be a part of making Minnesota as great as the days when my grandpa played and they were winning championships and all that kind of stuff. From that aspect, I had pride at Minnesota, and I decided I wanted to be a part of building the program."

Now he will try to help the Giants become as successful as the days of that other Coughlin.

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