After missing the 2011 season while recuperating from an injury that forced him to redshirt as a freshman, the wide receiver from Leroy High said, "Since I sat out so long it feels good to get back on the field and be able to play."
Coach Gene Chizik's Tigers will be back on the practice field on Wednesday for their fourth of 15 spring dates. One of the players he is keeping an eye on is Coates.
"He is a receiver with a lot of length and he is extremely fast," Chizik said of the 6-2, 203-pounder. "He has got very, very good hands. He is just a young, raw guy. He has got a lot of talent. He is a very promising guy for down the road.
"He has got to continue to work," Chizik noted. "He has made improvements daily everywhere. We are really proud of him in the classroom and some things he is doing all the way around and he will develop, day by day. He has definitely got the tools and the desire to be a good wide receiver in the league."
A three-sport star at Leroy High, who could have probably played baseball or basketball college if he had not decided on football, Coates noted he is ready to show the Auburn coaches what he can do. "I'm full speed and I'm going at it trying to win the (starting) spot," he said.
One of numerous players in the 2011 signee class who have gained sized and strength since he arrived at Auburn, Coates has added 25 pounds since his senior season in high school. "I did it by working out and eating right," he said. "I have just been taking care of my body."
Sammie Coates is shown at Monday's practice.
Coates said he believes he has a legitimate shot at contributing to the team this fall and noted he is focused on moving up the depth chart. "I've got a big chance to play this year and if I keep working hard I can get on the field," he said. "It's up to me on how I do at practice and stuff."
Asked what his goals are for this season, he said, "I just want to get on the field and score and get some big numbers."
Like all members of the team he is learning the new offensive system being put in by new coordinator Scott Loeffler. He said he is pleased with what he is seeing so far.
"I love it," the wide receiver said. "The new coach is good. He knows what he is doing. He is young so we get to have fun with him."