Indiana junior tailback Tevin Coleman, the nation's No. 2 rusher this season, has announced he will enter the 2015 NFL Draft.
Coleman told ESPN.com Monday that he would bypass his senior season to turn pro, saying, "This is my dream."
Coleman (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) rushed for 2,036 yards and 15 touchdowns this season; he is one just of 18 players in FBS history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. Coleman had four 200-yard games and three three-TD outings this season. Most impressive might be that he averaged 7.5 yards per carry on a team that had no passing attack because it was forced by injuries to use its third-string quarterback. In essence, Coleman was a one-man offense.
NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein calls Coleman "as well-rounded as any running back in this draft."
"He is a home-run hitter, he is a pile-mover, he's effective out of the backfield and he has a terrific nose for the end zone," Zierlein says. "He shows no hesitation between the tackles and has a great feel for where the running lanes are in tight quarters. He turns missed or broken tackles into long touchdowns, and he's the type of runner who can instantly change direction without having to gear down. His running style reminds me of DeMarco Murray's."
Coleman's explosiveness is a big plus. He has had 16 carries of at least 30 yards (second nationally), 13 of at least 40 (second), nine of at least 50 (tied for national lead), eight of at least 60 (national leader) and four of at least 70 (national leader). His 15 TDs this season covered an average of 41 yards, including a 90-yarder that was the longest run allowed by Ohio State since 1960. In addition, half of his 28 career rushing touchdowns have been for at least 43 yards, incuding eight of at least 64 yards.
Another plus is his receiving ability; he had 25 receptions this season in Indiana's version of the spread and looks to have the skill-set necessary to be a three-down back.
While Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon and Georgia's Todd Gurley are considered the top two backs available, Coleman should be at or near the top of the second tier. That probably means he will be a second-round pick. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks wrote in November that Coleman has "spectacular skills" and "the stuff needed to be a feature back at the next level."
Coleman was one of the best 100-meter sprinters and long-jumpers in Illinois when he was in high school in the Chicago area. He set the Hoosiers' single-season rushing record this season and will be the school's first running back drafted since 1997, when Steve Lee went in the sixth round to the Baltimore Ravens.
Coleman rushed for 100 yards in all but one game this season, including 228 against Ohio State.