Analysis: Coleman decision the right one

Tevin Coleman's decision this week to enter the NFL Draft is absolutely the right one. Now IU needs to find a capable replacement. Here are some thoughts on where IU could go to find its next starting running back.

No one should be the least bit surprised that Tevin Coleman announced he will not return to Indiana for his senior season and instead enter the 2015 NFL Draft.

It’s something we had all been predicting since early in his junior season, and now Coleman has simply made it official: He’s NFL bound.

And I wish him nothing but the best.

Coleman has done it all the right way. He performed at a high level on the field and an equally high level in the classroom. He’s the kind of student-athlete that all universities hope their athletes become.

Not to mention, he leaves Indiana as the top single season rusher in school history. Coleman ran for 2,036 yards this season, shattering the previous record set by Vaughn Dunbar in 1991. Dunbar ran for 1,805 yards in the ’91 season.

In his last two seasons at IU, Coleman ran for nearly 3,000 yards. He had 2,994 yards in those two seasons and scored a total of 30 touchdowns. And he missed his final three games of his junior season with an ankle injury.

It’s not often that clear no-brainers arise when it comes to college athletes opting to go professional early. But this one is as close to that no-brainer as you can get.

The time for Coleman to go is right now when his stock is high.

Many NFL draft prognosticators have him as an early-to-mid second round pick. He’s projected by many as being the No. 3 running back in the draft behind Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and Georgia’s Todd Gurley.

So Indiana fans should wish Coleman good luck and now focus their attention on IU’s running back situation moving forward.

The primary focus at the current time is on Alabama-Birmingham running back Jordan Howard, who ran for 1,587 yards as a sophomore last season. When UAB decided to eliminate its football program, however, players were free to transfer anywhere and be eligible play right away. One of Howard’s college teammates, Marqui Hawkins, has already announced he is transferring to IU.

Indiana and Notre Dame appear to be the leaders for Howard. Wisconsin has also been mentioned.

Some of the possible names among recruits who could sign in February include Nas Bonner from Milford (Pa.) Delaware Valley, Justin Rankin from Elyria (Ohio) Catholic, Michael Nero from Louisville (Ky.) Dupont Manual, Marquez Simpkins from Clinton (Okla.) and D.J. Brown from Little Rock (Ark.) Catholic.

Candidates on IU’s current roster include Devine Redding, who ran for 118 yards on 29 carries last season and scored a touchdown, Myles Graham, who had 81 yards on eight carries a year ago, and Tommy Mister who redshirted as a freshman last year after being injured in the preseason workouts.

The first priority will be to see how Howard’s decision plays out. Either way, IU should be looking to add a recruit in this class that can run the ball, too.

Will running back Howard join Indiana?

Coleman declares for NFL Draft

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