RECRUITING: A change of scenery

HE NEARLY SIGNED with co-finalist Oregon State two years ago following a breakout senior campaign. Ultimately, he made the 11th hour decision to stay in-state and close to home, inking his LOI elsewhere but after a season in his own backyard, he realized it wasn't the right move. Now, the mid-year transfer to-be is weighing his options, with Oregon State one he talks about in glowing terms.

Torrie Coleman (6-2, 215) held offers from Oregon State, UCLA, Colorado and others coming out of Cheyenne High back in '05. And he nearly signed with the Beavs, but the star running back out of North Las Vegas made the late decision to stay home and attend UNLV. In retrospect, it wasn't the right call.

"Let me put this on the record -- UNLV is a great program and I have the utmost respect for UNLV," said Coleman. "It was just that I was from Las Vegas, Nevada, and there were a lot of distractions.

"So I had to do what was best for me, I had to leave because I just couldn't focus...being from Las Vegas, going to high school in Las Vegas, going to the college in Las Vegas -- there were so many distractions, I didn't think I could reach my full potential and I really needed to get away and mature. But the program there is great."

COLEMAN CONSIDERED transferring to a D-IA school but he didn't want to sit out another year after already redshirting his freshman season at UNLV. One of Coleman's former Cheyenne teammates was CB Jarrell Holman, getting ready to enter his sophomore year at Arizona Western.

Holman, who eventually would sign with ASU this past LOI Day, told Coleman how much he liked the Arizona Western program and school, and said the quiet town of Yuma was just what Coleman was looking for.

"He told me 'It's a really good program, you can go down there and really play, they run the kind of offense you need,' so it seemed like a good fit and I came down here. And coach (James) Pryor is great, Arizona Western is great. Yuma is a small town and there's not a whole lot to do so I'm focusing on my books, my schoolwork.

"I didn't want to sit and that's what is so (ironic) about the whole thing -- the only reason I didn't transfer straight D-I was because I didn't want to sit out another year...that would have been two years without football. But then I transfered and I got hurt!"

Coleman said a head to head collision early in the year virtually wiped out his entire first season at Arizona Western.

"We mailed in my medical redshirt and we're still waiting on a response, so I might end up getting that year back," said Coleman. "But while I haven't got my chance yet, that's how the ball falls sometimes. I'm still being patient, I'm working out. I'll get my chance."

If so, Coleman would have 3-to-play-3 after the upcoming season and getting his AA degree at Arizona Western.

IN ADDITION TO OSU, UCLA and Cal are among those who have already been in contact.

"Oregon State -- I love coach Riley, I have a lot of respect for him. And the town of Corvallis, I compare it a little bit to Yuma because down there, it's really about football school, you don't have too many distractions around you and you can focus, that's what I love about it up there. And the people are great...UCLA is a good program, a great program. I like UCLA because of the tradition they have there. But I'm not really sure yet (about schools and frontrunners), I'm still in the early stages."

Coleman said a key juncture this offseason will be when schools come by in the spring to watch him during the combine on April 21 in Mesa.

"Basically, they're just seeing where I'm at right now, making sure I'm taking care of business. After the combine I'll be able to tell a lot more about (leaders), I'm just focused on spring ball and spring grades right now," he said.

COLEMAN ALSO LOOKS to be a mid-year transfer, making him that much more valuable a player since he could join a D-IA school for the all-important spring ball session.

"School is going great. If I wanted to I could have graduated this term but there was no need. I'll easily be graduating in December. I'm just waiting on my chance. I'm praying 2007 is the year I get to show what I'm made of...Some little nick-nacks have held me back but I'm 100 percent healthy now and I'm ready to get it started," said Coleman.

HIS SENIOR YEAR at Cheyenne, Coleman racked up 2,100 rushing yards, averaging 8.5 per carry. Torrie Coleman

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