Visit To AU Convinces DE To Be A Tiger

This heavily recruited prospect explains why he decided to pick Auburn on Sunday after his official visit to AU.

Mobile, Ala.--Alabama's Class 5A defensive lineman of the year, Antonio Coleman, said Sunday he's going to play his college football for the Auburn Tigers.

The 6-2, 215-pound Coleman from Williamson High made his commitment to Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville during his official visit to AU over the weekend. He was one of 17 high school seniors on campus for official visits.

Coleman is expected to join a group of defensive ends for the Tigers that already include Stanley McClover and Quentin Groves, who were among the Southeastern Conference leaders in sacks even though they were seeing action for the first time in 2004.

"Auburn turns loose its defensive ends," says Coleman. "That what I'm looking forward to--a rush end, that's me."

Coleman met with defensive ends coach Terry Price and came away with expectations for some early playing time during the 2005 season.

"Coach Price showed me the depth chart and there is only one returning defensive end on the weakside," Coleman says. "I feel like I will fit right end because they play a lot of ends."

Coleman visited Alabama last week and indicated that the Tide might be his leader prior to the Auburn visit. He also had LSU on his short list of teams he was considering. However, that changed after checking out the Tigers.

"It was a great visit to Auburn and I decided to make a verbal commitment," Coleman explains.

Coleman mentioned that he, tight end recruit Gabe McKenzie and defensive lineman Sen'Derrick Marks talked about the possibility of coming to Auburn during their visit. All three are from the Mobile area--McKenzie from Davidson High and Marks from Vigor.

Antonio Coleman

Marks said Sunday that Auburn is his leader and McKenzie has Auburn, Miami and Alabama on his short list. Neither joined Coleman as public commitments this weekend.

Coleman, who had freshman linebacker Merrill Johnson as his player host, said Saturday's Parade of Champions for Auburn's 13-0 Southeastern Conference champions for 2004 was certainly impressive.

"The parade made me more eager to come up there now," Coleman says. "I'm ready to come up to Auburn, work hard and make some things happen."

He made things happen his senior year at Williamson with 147 tackles, 32 quarterback hurries, 23 sacks and three safeties.

Coleman said he knows that he'll have to put on some weight to battle at defensive end in the SEC. "I feel like I'm quick and fast. I hope to play my first year, so I know I'm going to have to work hard this summer to try to get my weight up."

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