It has been said quite a few times on this site that senior UCLA running back Derrick Coleman was the Bruins’ brightest spot this season.
And was clearly the team’s most valuable player in 2011.
Except for his team-leading 11 touchdowns, his statistics don’t jump out at people; 765 yards and five yards a carry with his longest run from scrimmage being 42 yards this year, but it was obvious for those who saw him that he was UCLA’s best football player.
Anytime the Bruins needed short yardage for a crucial first down, Coleman got it for them.
Anytime the Bruins were within five yards of the end zone and needed to punch it in for the score, Coleman was successful in doing the honors for them.
He was also active in doing the grunt work on special teams.
On top of all of that, Coleman proved to be the classiest member of the UCLA football team, as well as among the hardest working and one of those Bruins who understood what was needed for the team to have future success when he said, “The discipline outside football has to improve. I’m not saying it was bad, but it can definitely go up a notch.”
And all of this while dealing with an hearing impairment.
This was a Bruin who represented Bruin Nation with outstanding dignity, one who will do well in the future whether or not he plays in the NFL.
And for the record, in my view he is UCLA’s only true prospect; I predict he will go in the middle rounds in the NFL Draft this coming April, maybe as high as the third round if he has a good scouting combine and/or pro day.
Here are three highlight videos of number 33 in action that should give the UCLA fan base some pleasant memories, the last one featuring a run of over 70 yards against Washington State in 2010, a game where he ran for a career-high 185 yards:
I think all of Bruin Nation will agree with me when I say that Derrick Coleman will be missed in Westwood.