Matt Cashore / Irishillustrated.com

ND A to Z: Nick Coleman

Coleman threatened to get playing time throughout his freshman season. Nick Watkins took over at cornerback in the Fiesta Bowl with KeiVarae Russell and Devin Butler injured.

Nick Colman was a first-team Associated Press all-Ohio Division IV all-state selection as a senior at Archbishop Alter High School in Kettering, Ohio in 2014. Coleman did most of his damage as a running back before settling in at cornerback as a true freshman with the Irish.

Coleman rushed for 1,125 yards and 13 touchdowns to help lead Archbishop Alter to a 14-1 record and the state runner-up as a senior. He rushed for 1,168 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior. Coleman had five interceptions and 87 tackles in his junior and senior seasons combined.

Notre Dame preferred Coleman – a high school teammate of Malik Zaire’s – at cornerback, where he competed for a spot in the rotation throughout his rookie campaign. He played in all 13 games, mainly on special teams, finishing with five tackles, two passes broken up and two passes defensed.

His father, Trey Coleman, was a tailback on the 1983 Notre Dame team.

BEST-CASE SCENARIO
Coleman continues to add to his stock as a regular on special teams, a backup to veteran Cole Luke at cornerback, and a possible insertion in nickel and dime situations, depending to some extent upon the health of Nick Watkins. Coleman should be positioned to compete for a starting role in 2017.

WORST-CASE SCENARIO
With the influx of talent in the freshman class, featuring the length of Donte Vaughn and the speed and athleticism of Troy Pride Jr., Coleman could face immediate pressure for his No. 2 spot on the depth chart behind Luke this fall.
 
CAREER COMPARISON
A running back-cornerback out of Jenks High School in Oklahoma, Jason Beckstrom was known more for his offensive prowess in the prep ranks than defense. He rushed for 1,751 yards in his final two years of high school ball. Beckstrom won a monogram at Notre Dame as a freshman cornerback and on special teams in 1999. He was the third cornerback behind Deveron Harper and Clifford Jefferson.
 
DEVELOPMENT VS. RECRUITING RANKING
Scout ranked Coleman a three-star prospect and the No. 53 cornerback in the country coming out of Archbishop Alter. The fact that he saw action in all 13 games as a freshman validated Notre Dame’s belief in his athleticism and versatility. His best football should be ahead of him.

COLEMAN AT HIS BEST
Although he would get beaten for a touchdown pass in Notre Dame’s 62-27 victory over UMass – which led to a long sideline discussion involving head coach Brian Kelly, defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and defensive backs coach Todd Lyght -- Coleman had two pass breakups against quarterback Blake Frohnapfel and the Minutemen.

QUOTE OF NOTE
“Nick is a very smart player. Very savvy. He’s a long player for the cornerback position. He’s going to be a big corner. He can play inside and out. He can play nickel back, which will look really good rushing the quarterback, and then also playing man coverage on the slot.”
-- Mike Elston, ND Recruiting Coordinator


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