After redshirting in 2007, he saw limited action in 2008 as the third-string reserve, going 4-for-8 (50.0 percent) for 21 yards and one interception over three games. Coleman decided to transfer to Chattanooga (Tenn.) before the 2009 season and won the starting quarterback job as a sophomore (11 starts), finishing 227-for-401 (56.6 percent) for 2,348 yards, 17 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.
He had his most productive season in 2010 as a junior with 11 starts, going 215-for-382 (56.3 percent) for 2,996 yards, 26 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and four rushing scores, earning Second Team All-Southern honors. Coleman battled a shoulder injury in 2011 as a senior and missed four games (seven starts), finishing 137-for-225 (60.9 percent) for 1,527 yards, nine touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Coleman was a highly-regarded recruit out of the prep level and transferred to Chattanooga (where is father played football) after two years in Knoxville for the opportunity of more playing time. He has a good head on his shoulders with a very high football pedigree, dedicating himself to improving and developing his skills.
Coleman has inconsistent accuracy and touch with unpolished footwork, but he has an impressive raw skill-set with a strong arm, thick build and enough mobility ~ making him the top small school quarterback in this draft class because of his natural tools and passion for the game. But he needs a lot of work.
Strengths: Physically imposing and solidly-built throughout his frame with good body strength. Has a strong arm with the ability to easily make all the throws. Has above average zip and velocity on his passes with strong stick throws.
Possesses a smooth, quick release with good mechanics that translate well to the next level. Has good mobility to move around in the pocket with the foot quickness to evade pressure and pick up yards with his legs when needed (7 career rush scores).
Has strong character on and off the field with natural leadership traits and is known as the consummate teammate. Very coachable and is a quick learner, working hard to improve and hone his craft. A film junkie with a passion for the game and wants to win.
Weaknesses: Almost too thick and appears a bit mechanical in some of his movements, including his throwing motion. Has inconsistent footwork in his drops and passing stance. Displays inconsistent touch on throws to all levels of the field and needs to show a better grasp of when to throw fastballs and when to put some air underneath throws.
Shows improved accuracy, but his ball location is still streaky and needs improvement. Played at the FCS-level with average results (52-to-31, career TD-to-INT ratio and only 57.4% career completions) and lacks ideal experience against top competition.
Had a tough senior season with only 9 touchdowns in 7 starts and missed four of the final five games with an injury to his throwing shoulder.
NFL Comparison: Dan Orlovsky, Indianapolis Colts."
-- Dane Brugler
However, he is raw with his footwork, his initial step from the gun is with his left foot too often (he's a right handed quarterback) and he wastes a lot of motion stutter-stepping in order to balance himself and get away from the pocket.
He doesn't quickly get away from center, and he will struggle with his balance trying to get rid of the football in the three and five-step game. Coleman almost seems to fall off throws, will throw off his back foot without collecting himself, causing his accuracy to suffer because of it.
However, he does do a nice job collecting himself and getting a nice wide base to throw from when he can step into throws. He transfers his weight well, gets the ball out of his hands with a solid release point and generates good torque from his lower half.
He displays "plus" placement with his plant foot and is accurate with the ball when he collects himself. He will need some time to mature from under center and improve his footwork, but is a good enough athlete to do so.
Coleman displays a bit of an inconsistent spiral when throwing down the field, and when throwing underneath he looks to direct the football too often. He can get very mechanical at times when delivering he football underneath and there are other times where he really looks natural and loose spinning the football.
He gets locked in at times with his pre-snap reads and he'll stare down initial targets. However, to his credit, he will work his eyes to a certain degree, though he doesn't manipulate defenses, but does a good enough job to keep them from getting early jumps on the football.
He knows where his outlet is as well and will buy time for himself inside the pocket on the move. His awareness inside the pocket is only average, he feels pressure at times, but seems to get caught ignoring that pressure from the backside at times.
He seems to have a solid mental clock, but looks content to simply protect the football instead of getting it out of his hands. He exhibits good touch down the field as well, giving his receivers a chance to run under throws, and will take a bit off when need be. He gets caught trusting his arm too much at times and will fall off throws in the face of pressure.
He is a former Tennessee transfer who left because of the Lane Kiffin saga.
Impression: He needs to improve his footwork from the gun and from center before he's ready for the NFL game. However, Coleman has a good skill set, can make all the throws and is an intriguing developmental kid with a "plus" upside."
Can buy a second chance in the pocket, make throws with bodies around him and get out of a jam.
However, he is tight-shouldered and rigid in his delivery with limited foot quickness and too often presses and fires bullets from close range.
Possesses ideal backup traits and the moxie and Football Jones worth developing."
Good over-the-top throwing motion, smooth and doesn't have any hitches... A hard worker, really committed to improving himself and his teammates, does all of the things off the field that you want your quarterback to do... High football IQ, very smart and understands the X's and O's aspect of the game...
Possesses ideal height and frame for an NFL quarterback... Has huge hands which helps him grip the ball and throw a nice spiral... Has experience working under center and out of the shotgun... Drew rave reviews for his performance during Shrine week, has a lot of post-season momentum.
Negatives -- Poor production for a draftable prospect, only threw for 1,527 yards in seven games in 2011 while completing 61 percent of his passes at the FCS level... Has a tendency to throw off his back foot when pressured...
Makes some poor decisions, was able to get away with it in college, but will not at the NFL level... Needs some work with his drop steps, doesn't get great depth and his footwork appears awkward at times...
Very much an unfinished product... Level of competition will be seriously questioned while playing at Tennessee-Chattanooga... Struggled in his one game last year against FBS competition throwing for 174 yards, one touchdown, one interception against Nebraska... Had a five interception game against Elon in 2010...
Transferred from Tennessee, will be a 24-year-old rookie... Missed three full games in 2011 with a shoulder injury.
Arm Strength: Coleman has very rare arm strength. He doesn’t have a howitzer like Ryan Mallett, but he has the ability to make every NFL throw with relative ease. I have seen him make multiple throws downfield from the right hash to the far left sideline (and left has to far right sideline) with good zip and perfect ball placement. He absolutely has a NFL arm.
Accuracy: Coleman has quality accuracy. Occasionally he will miss high or wide, but overall I was impressed with his accuracy. He is very accurate on short and medium throws, but his accuracy is not at the elite level on deep throws. It is good, but not great.
He is quite consistent with his ball placement and timing on his throws, though occasionally his timing will be off and it will result in an inaccurate throw even if it is placed correctly in the hole in the zone. Overall I was impressed with his accuracy.
Mechanics: Coleman seems to have good mechanics. He lines up in shotgun but also lines up a lot from under center, frequently performing three step drops and releasing the ball upon finishing his drop on a quick slant or out route. He also frequently performs play action fakes and while he could stand to improve his fake overall, he does a good job pretending like the running back is getting the ball.
Chattanooga uses play action fakes quite frequently in the games that I watched even when the running game really isn’t effectively gaining yards, so sometimes that limits the effectiveness of the play-call.
His footwork is sound and he regularly steps into his throws which helps explain his impressive zip, and his throwing motion is clean and he has a quick release. He also does a good job of resetting his feet after moving in the pocket or completing a play action fake which is good to see.
He also has a very impressive pump fake which he used a number of times to get defenders to jump into the air, giving him more time to find somewhere to go with the ball. Solid mechanics.
Mobility: Coleman has some mobility but he is by no means a scrambler, he is definitely a pocket passer. He has enough mobility to correctly run bootlegs or rollouts but he won’t dance around in the pocket or leave the pocket prematurely to extend the play or to scramble for yards with his legs under almost any circumstance.
He can extend plays with his legs when he has to, but not for very long because he isn’t very fast and can’t out run many defensive ends that I saw him play against. Limited athlete at the quarterback position.
Pre/Post Snap Reads: Coleman could use some work on reading the defense pre and post snap. Post-snap he does a decent job and frequently finds the open receiver. Often times, however, the offense he runs helps with this as he will be throwing a quick slant or an out route and won’t have to read the defense, rather he will just execute his drop and release the ball for an easy completion.
He really needs to improve on using his eyes to deceive the defenders instead of staring down his intended receiver at times, and allowing any defender reading his eyes to jump the route and make a play on the ball. This happened a few times in the tapes I watched, and it was some cause for concern.
I’m not sure he does a great job before the snap either as he seemed surprised by some blitzes, particularly from the corner-back position a few times. Overall I think this is one area that I think he could benefit from more study, particularly film study or working with his position coach to get a better feel for this aspect of the game.
He shows promise in this area, but he stared down too many receivers for me to say that he does a good or great job reading defenses.
Intangibles: Coleman impressed me with his intangibles, because he doesn’t seem to have any problem recovering from an interception. In one of the games I watched him in against Furman I believe he threw four interceptions and was eventually losing 28-10 for the majority of the game. The first interception he threw was deflected into the air and intercepted by a defensive back and promptly returned for a touchdown.
The next two interceptions resulted from him throwing a great pass to one of his receivers after which they let the ball bounce right off their hands and into a defender’s lap for an easy turnover. The final interception he threw was a poor decision throw where he just floated the ball into the end zone when UTC was inside the 10 yard line and a safety easily ran under it for another interception.
Despite all of these turnovers he continued to throw with great confidence into relatively tight windows and continued to sustain impressive drives with key 3rd down conversions. He regularly played his best on 3rd down and in pressure situations, and this was illustrated very nicely when he led a furious comeback down 28-10 at the start of the 4th quarter.
Chattanooga went on to score 26 points in the final 15 minutes of the game and they ended up winning 36-28 in no small part because of Coleman’s passing that allowed them to sustain drives. He finally stretched the defense so much with the pass that the running game opened up and they were able to gain some yardage with the ground game which had been all but shut down for the previous three quarters.
Coleman threw the touchdown that gave Chattanooga a 29-28 lead and capped an amazing comeback that reminded me a lot of Idaho’s comeback win led by Nathan Enderle during his junior season against Bowling Green in Idaho’s bowl game that year.
Coleman had every reason to be discouraged, whether it was his high interception total, his receivers frequently dropping passes, or his defense giving up a lot of points and putting the offense in a hole. But he seemed to keep his composure and never looked rattled, and the next thing I knew he and his team had claimed the lead after Coleman sustained drive after drive.
I haven’t spoken him personally or his teammates and thus I haven’t been able to find anything about his command of the huddle, etc. but leading a comeback like that certainly speaks volumes.
Character: I don’t know much about Coleman’s character, but he didn’t seem frustrated or angry with his supporting cast even though for three quarters they were letting him down and even causing unforced turnovers to occur.
I believe Chattanooga turned the ball over at least 6 times which helped Furman build their lead in that specific game, but despite that he still remained calm and continued to play just as he did at the beginning of the game when it was well within reach, and that helps speak towards his attitude and ultimately character.
He did transfer from Tennessee so I’m sure people will question how good he could really be if he couldn’t beat out Crompton back when he was a Volunteer, but I don’t think that is a character question mark to be honest.
Overall: I have to say that I was incredibly impressed with what I saw of Coleman and he is definitely “my guy to watch” for the 2011 season much like Nathan Enderle was last year.
Coleman showed very impressive arm strength, consistent accuracy, quality mechanics and impressive intangibles in the film I was able to watch of him and that all impressed me so much that I can’t wait to watch as much of him as I can this coming season. Coincidentally he plays Nebraska in week one next year, which is another similarity he and Enderle share, as Enderle’s Idaho Vandals squared off against the Cornhuskers early in the 2010 season last year. I can’t wait to see more of Coleman and I look forward to learning more about him this coming season."