published Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Tennessee: Coleman leaves UT program

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B.J. Coleman

University of Tennessee sophomore quarterback B.J. Coleman has informed the Times Free Press that he is leaving the program.

Frustrated by what he believes is a lack of opportunity to win the starting job, Coleman is not sure what his future plans will include.

“It’s the best move for me,” Coleman said. “What changed my mind is, after this spring, I don’t see myself getting a fair shake. Based on conversations with coaches and things that happened this spring, I feel the staff has goals that do not include me.

“I didn’t just quit. I didn’t just walk out. But I’m going to be taking a huge risk of losing another year of eligibility if I stay. I just want to play ball.”

For the last two weeks of practice, the former McCallie School star had taken more snaps with the second team, while senior Jonathan Crompton took over most of the first-team reps.

In the three spring scrimmages that were treated as game situations and played in Neyland Stadium, Coleman was a combined 41-of-60 for 425 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

By comparison, Crompton was a combined 31-of-70 for 324 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Rising junior Nick Stephens, who was limited by a broken right wrist, was 13-of-25 for 159 yards and two TDs.

“I gave it everything I had,” said Coleman, a former two-time Tennessee Mr. Football winner. “I couldn’t have had a better spring or made it more obvious to them that I was their guy. I proved it on the field and off.”

For more on this story check back to and read Friday’s Times Free Press Sports section.

  • B.J. Coleman leaves Tennessee
    Former McCallie School quarterback B.J. Coleman told University of Tennessee football coaches Thursday afternoon that he would be transferring out of the program. The redshirt sophomore told the Times Free Press he did not believe he would get a fair opportunity to earn the starting job.
about Stephen Hargis...

Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 23 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including nine in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers in the nation at the Associated ...

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Salsa said...

Lack of opportunity to win the starting job?

He had an open competition all spring. If he failed to be the best then it is all on him.

April 23, 2009 at 3:49 p.m.
signalmtnman said...

Wow. I thought he was in the thick of it for the starting job. Not sure he was "their guy" going forward into 2010 but I thought he would have a great shot this fall. Never know what's going on in the coach's office. To me this is a setback to a pretty successful spring for the new regime. Too bad, but I wish him well.

April 23, 2009 at 4:22 p.m.
Keith said...

Come home to chattanooga, B.J. The Mocs would LOVE to have you!

April 23, 2009 at 4:22 p.m.
GoMocs57 said...

Welcome to the Mocs BJ! GO MOCS!

April 23, 2009 at 4:23 p.m.
Bobblehead said...

Nothing in Kiffins comments to Chattanooga fans during big orange caravan would indicate BJ had anything but good days ahead. With new coaches knowing crompton only had 1 year left, and telling highly recruited quarterbacks already committed to Fulmer not to come, although their ride would be honored would only seem to me to indicate BJ is the likely starter since whoever they sign next year would still need time to learn the system. He might be jumping ship too early?

April 23, 2009 at 6:15 p.m.
Oz said...

Coleman wants to wear Blue again. He's headed to Duke and Coach Cutcliffe.

April 23, 2009 at 9:21 p.m.
signalmtnman said...

Duke would mean another year off and I think they have a young QB now. It's odd he reportedly made this decision without telling Kiffin. Sounds like a knee-jerk thing. I bet he goes down a level so he can play immediately.

April 23, 2009 at 9:46 p.m.
moonpie said...

If you're not clearly superior to Crompton, then what chance do you think you'll have anywhere else, B.J.?

From what I heard, you were doing well and might have had a chance to start this year.

It's the minority of players who transferred to become excellent elsewhere. It happens, but it's the minority.

Good luck B.J., you'll need it, plus all the talent you can muster.

April 23, 2009 at 11:04 p.m.
bluedog said...

All reports from insiders in Knoxville say that Crompton was going to be Kiffin's choice. B.J. has had better numbers but Crompton is the senior and Kiffin want's his own Q.B. for next year. I wish the VOLS the best, but feel they have lost the better of the Quarter Backs. So B.J. come back and play for the MOCS, PLEASE!!!!!!!!

April 23, 2009 at 11:57 p.m.
FreedomofSpeech said...

In reply to above, it looks like he DID have the best numbers, so... I have no doubt that B.J. is not making this decision lightly, and I would almost guarantee that he and his parents discussed this thoroughly before reaching a decision, and that it is NOT a knee jerk reaction. Having had the opportunity to know B.J. a little as he played football with my son, he is one of the most polite, most respectful young men I've ever met. He had leadership skills as a freshman at McCallie that were years beyond his age and experience. If the decision was made without Kiffin's knowledge, considering the "conversations with coaches and things that happened this spring" then he either wasn't paying attention or B.J., being the type of young man that he is, didn't want to give Kiffin what sounded like an ultimatum and just gathered the information necessary to make his decision. B.J. is a kid who just wants to play football. I'm sure he'll find somewhere that he can play now, and the team will be the better for it, regardless of what their record is at the end of the season.

April 24, 2009 at 8:27 a.m.
nashtrash said...

He should transfer to Vandy... they need a QB and he's an all-academic SEC selection... sounds like a perfect fit

April 25, 2009 at 11:37 p.m.
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