Coleman aware of NFL shot

Coleman aware of NFL shot

May 3rd, 2011 by John Frierson in Sports - College

B.J. Coleman, quarterback for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team, discusses practice recently with a coach at Scrappy Moore Field. Staff photo by Jenna Walker/Chattanooga Times Free Press

As he watched last weekend's NFL draft, B.J. Coleman couldn't help but think about his own future.

"It was cool to sit there and pay attention and see kind of the teams' thought processes on quarterbacks," the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior quarterback said Monday.

One thing Coleman noted was how often the draft analysts on television mentioned character when describing some of the 12 QBs selected, such as Florida State's Christian Ponder and Washington's Jake Locker.

"I watched how Minnesota took Ponder and how the Titans took Locker," he said, "and then saw how character plays a huge role in the draft, too, with some of the high-character picks that were taken."

At 6-foot-3 and 222 pounds, Coleman is roughly the same size as most of the quarterbacks drafted this year. Mocs offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield said his quarterback has all the tools that NFL teams want.

"Physical attributes: Check, he's got it. Arm strength: Check, he's got it. Accuracy: Check, he's got it. Football IQ: Check, he has it," Satterfield said. "Every thing they're looking for, he has. Now, he plays at Chattanooga, not Notre Dame, so he's got a little bit of an uphill climb as far as getting drafted in the first three rounds."

Coleman currently is rated the No. 19 quarterback prospect in next year's draft class by NFLDraftScout.com, one behind Tennessee's Matt Simms. Playing at a Football Championship Subdivision school shouldn't hurt any player's NFL chances too much, UTC coach Russ Huesman said.

"If you're good, they'll draft you or take you as a free agent," Huesman said. "You'll get the shot to put the uniform on, no matter where you are."

As a junior, in his second season as the Mocs' starter after transferring from Tennessee, Coleman was second-team All-Southern Conference. He threw for 2,996 yards and completed 56.3 percent of his passes, with 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Last month, following UTC's pro day during which more than a dozen scouts came out to see cornerback Buster Skrine work out - Skrine was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the fifth round Saturday - Coleman went home with a big smile.

He said it really hit him that day that he has a chance to play in the NFL. His father, Bryon, and brother, Jarrod, were sitting on the porch when he got home, and he relayed those feelings to them.

"I said this is just an amazing feeling, just the fact that it's hitting home that I've got a shot," he said. "And Jarrod was like, 'You're just realizing this now?'"

Satterfield sometimes has to kick Coleman out of his office because his quarterback could stay in there all day talking football and watching film. That work ethic and passion for the game, Satterfield said, should pay off a year from now as long as Coleman has another good season.

"I tell every NFL scout that comes in here, if they interview him they're going to want to hire him as a coach," Satterfield said. "And then on top of that, he can play football. I think the sky's the limit. I think he'll get drafted, and I think he'll go as far as he wants to go.

"He's got all the attributes on the checklist, and now he's got to go out there and make the throws."

The Mocs haven't had players drafted in back-to-back years since 1991-92.

Contact John Frierson at jfrierson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.