Once on campus, Coleman, a mammoth offensive lineman from Davidson (N.C.) Day School, will have every opportunity to earn a scholarship.
"Basically, if I'm working hard this next year, they said they'll be able to offer me a scholarship," Coleman said. "Me personally, I'm a competition guy. I'm going to be pushing myself extra hard."
In the last six months, Coleman has already displayed that competitive drive and willingness to do what is asked of him. After checking in at 362 pounds at UNC's June camp, he dropped to 335 pounds by the end of his senior football season on the advice of college coaches. He figures to be very close to his ideal size by the time he enrolls at UNC – which is likely in the fall semester.
"I'm going to keep losing weight, but the holidays are killing me right now," Coleman said. "I'm going to get down to probably about 320."
Coleman, who was named to the AP All-State Team and represented N.C. in the Private School Shrine Bowl, isn't your typical preferred walk-on. There's a possibility that UNC would have offered him a scholarship if it weren't dealing with scholarship reductions.
"Coach Kap' [Chris Kapilovic] told me that if they had all their scholarships, I would definitely be one of the prospects that they want," Coleman said. "It's just an unfortunate fact for both of us. But in the long run, hopefully it will all work out."
Coleman camped at UNC and attended the thrilling UNC-NC State game in Chapel Hill during the season. But it wasn't until he returned to campus in mid-December for a basketball game that he made the decision to accept the preferred walk-on offer.
"I got to see more of the school [during the most recent visit]," Coleman said. "I got to see the new academic building they built two years ago. I got to see the facilities both academic and football – and they're great.
"It just seemed like such a well-rounded school. Even though I won't be a scholarship guy, the coaches treated me well – like they really wanted me. And I want to be a business major and they have one of the top business schools in the nation, so that really intrigued me too. It just felt like a great fit.
"Over the summer, I got to meet the coaches. So really, I just needed to check out the facilities."
Since the summer, Coleman kept in constant contact with Kapilovic, UNC's offensive line coach, and Gunter Brewer, his primary recruiter.
"They're just great guys," Coleman said. "They're men that I felt like if I would have went there or not, I still could have kept in contact with them. They just provide that family atmosphere that I really was looking for."
Coleman started at left tackle for Davidson Day and for the NC squad in the Private School Shrine Bowl.
"[The UNC coaches] haven't really talked about [positions]," Coleman said. "But me personally, I feel like if I keep losing weight – like 20-25 pounds – I'll be able to play the tackle position like I want."