Jarrod Coleman spent some time in the ice tub in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga training room on Friday. After a very tough workout with some of his teammates, the cold bath offered some relief.
Unlike most of his visits since the tight end arrived at UTC nearly a year ago, Coleman went to the training room voluntarily. Coleman suffered a torn labrum during preseason practice last August and redshirted following surgery. He missed all of spring practice with a foot injury that forced him to wear a boot for weeks.
"I feel great," he said. "The shoulders feel great, the foot feels great and I've put on some weight."
Even before he arrived at UTC, Coleman had his share of injuries and issues. He had throat surgery as a senior at McCallie, which resulted in him dropping a lot of weight. At UTC, with either his arm in a sling or his leg in a boot, putting on weight has been a problem because he hasn't been healthy enough to work out regularly.
Until now. Bootless and healthy this summer, the 6-foot-4 Coleman is packing on the muscle. He said he's back up to 230 pounds and would like to add a few more.
"It's been a tough road, but I finally feel like my body's maturing and I'm getting up to where I need to be," Coleman said.
Mocs coach Russ Huesman said he's happy to see Coleman progressing after so many setbacks.
"He's healthy, feels good and let's just knock on wood that he stays healthy," Huesman said. "He'll be a good player for us, but he's had some tough breaks."
The Mocs have a lot of depth at tight end, led by Faysal Shafaat, who caught 19 passes last season and made the Southern Conference All-Freshman team. UTC also has senior Sean Stackhouse and two redshirt freshmen in Coleman and Troy Dye.
Coleman admitted he might be a little behind because of all the repetitions he's missed while injured. However, he said he should be able to make up a lot of ground this summer and be good to go when practice begins in August.
Wide receiver Jarrett Burns left the team after last season following what Huesman called a mutual decision that the South Carolina transfer, who primarily played on special teams, not return for his fifth year.
Burns didn't participate in spring practice and his career appeared to be finished. But now he's back and is going through summer workouts with the team.
"He didn't go through spring and missed it," Huesman said. "He's coming back to school to finish up and he just asked, 'Coach, can I be on the team?'"
A converted defensive back, Burns caught four passes in 2010, all against Auburn. He didn't have a catch last season, but with UTC short on experienced, big-bodied wideouts this fall, the 6-2, 200-pounder may be able to contribute.
"If he can help, that's great," Huesman said, "and he might."