Player Spotlight - R.J. Coleman

Tight end R.J. Coleman doesn't come to Ohio State with gaudy stats. In fact, playing in a run-oriented offense at Byrd High School in Clarksburg West Virginia, Coleman caught 13 passes as a junior and just five as senior. But don't be fooled by those numbers - Coleman is a consensus top 10 tight end nationally.

"My stats weren't very good this year, but we started a sophomore quarterback who had never played before and we ran the ball a lot," Coleman said.

The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Coleman says that while run-blocking is his strength, he can also be a big weapon as a receiver.

"I'm real confident in my pass-catching abilities. I love to block, but my coaches say that my speed (4.7 in the 40) surprises people."

His junior year, it surprised a lot of people. Coleman had 325 receiving yards (25 yards per catch) and grabbed five touchdowns that year, proving that he wasn't just a big guy, but a big play guy.

The West Virginia native first visited OSU during the 2000 football season and said it was love at first sight.

"I went to the first game that year against Fresno State. I remember walking out on the field and seeing all those people and I knew right then and there that I wanted to go to Ohio State."

After John Cooper was fired following the season, Coleman said that he still wanted to be a Buckeye, but decided to explore all of his options just in case.

"I considered Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, but when I came back to Ohio State for junior day just after Coach (Jim) Tressel was hired, there was no doubt that I still wanted to go to Ohio State. I really liked the new coaching staff, they were different than any other staff I met. Coach Tressel is just so involved with his players, not just in football, but in everything they do."

What other factors drew him to OSU?

"The tradition is so strong and football is very important to the community. I wanted to be a part of that."

Coleman will also be part of one of the country's best recruiting classes.

"(This class) makes me feel good about the future. The No. 1 reason I'm coming to Ohio State is to win a national championship and hopefully our class will help us get there."

Coleman was one of the early commitments to the class (committed on June 4) and was mainly recruited by linebackers coach Mark Snyder and recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach Bill Conley.

"I got to know Coach Snyder the best, but I also spoke with Coach Conley a lot. They're great guys."

Coleman was also a standout middle linebacker in high school, but chances are Snyder and Conley won't be fighting over his services.

"I'll probably stay at tight end, but I'll play anywhere they need me. I just want to play football."

Like many of the incoming crop of Buckeyes, Coleman has his sights set on playing as a true freshman.

"I want to come in and contribute right away. With (Darnell) Sanders leaving, the coaches said I'll have a shot at immediate playing time if I come in and do well."

Coleman made his official visit on Jan. 11 of this year and has gotten the chance to meet a lot of his future teammates.

"I was hosted by Rob Reynolds and I had a lot of fun that weekend. Of the incoming guys, I probably got to know Jay Richardson the best, but I know most of the guys."

Did Coleman get any calls from OSU's assistant recruiting coordinator, otherwise known as quarterback Justin Zwick?

"Justin and I talked a few times over the computer. I think it's great that he's getting to know everyone and trying to bring us together as a team."

The athletic Coleman is the starting center on his high school basketball team and is averaging 12.5 points and 11 rebounds per game. He is also a standout track and field athlete and won the state championship in the shot put as a junior. Fellow recruit Mike D'Andrea is also a gifted thrower.

"I've met him and I know he's all-world in the shot. (Unlike D'Andrea) I don't think I'll throw at Ohio State, but we'll have to see how this season goes."

Coleman benches 315 and holds a 3.4 GPA in high school. He plans on majoring in broadcasting at OSU and is excited about the next phase in his life.

"I'm looking forward to college life - being independent and out on my own. But, like I said, I'm most looking forward to winning a national championship."

Special thanks to R.J. for the interview!

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