Recruiting In Review: Justin Coleman

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 22: Justin Coleman #27 of the Tennessee Volunteers breaks up a pass intended for DeAndrew White #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

10. JUSTIN COLEMAN, 5-11, 183 CB BRUNSWICK , GA. [BRUNSWICK HS]

Ratings: Rivals 4* No. 17 cornerback, Scout 3* No. 45 cornerback, ESPN 3* No. 30 safety, 247 4*. Chose UT over Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Oklahoma State, South Florida, Southern Miss, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Looking back: After a stellar spring following his early enrollment, Coleman cracked the starting lineup four times including the season's first two games. Though he has a lot of talent and the fearlessness to play the position, it was a baptism by fire for Coleman, who was burned deep in each of the season's first two games and lost his starting job. Still, he battled back to start against MTSU and Arkansas later in the year, and coaches love his potential. He finished with 10 solo tackles and two pass deflections on the year. Coleman was the first true freshman DB to start at UT since Eric Berry.

Looking forward: Since he struggled at times last year, a lot of fans turned off the "excitement meter" for Coleman, but he has a chance to make big plays and be a dynamic corner as early as this year. I loved the way he battled back after losing his job, and he has the size/speed combo coaches love. Coleman burst onto the scene in the spring game by blanketing Justin Hunter, so you know he has that ability. He just needs to harness it, make a couple of big plays and go from there. I fully expect that he'll by UT's third-best cornerback next season behind Prentiss Waggner and Izaeua Lanier.

Final projection: I'm very high on Coleman, and he should have a great career at UT. Nobody should have to come in and start as a true freshman, but Coleman did, and -- at least later in the season -- didn't look bad doing it. For those who need some sort of gauge, look at how terrible Florida's true freshmen corners were this year, and they always recruit the nation's top-ranked players. The light will come on for Coleman, and when it does, he is going to be a big-time SEC playmaker.

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