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Coleman Buckeye bound

by Rob Peirce

SPORTS WRITER

The wait is over, and the weight is off his shoulders. R.J. Coleman knew it from the beginning. The rest was just comparison.

Coleman, Robert C. Byrd's tight end, verbally committed to play for the Ohio State Buckeyes Saturday.

"Ohio State was my choice from Day 1," he said. "I was comparing every other school. I just wanted to get it over with early. That's what I was going for is to take away all the pressure and get away from all the coaches."

And day after day, there seemed to be another coach who was interested in Coleman's talent.

Among the other schools which Coleman was comparing to Ohio State were Louisiana State, Northwestern, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

"Every day, people were like, 'Where are you going to go?'" he said.

Now, the big question has been answered, which means Coleman can focus on his senior year at RCB and improve on those 13 catches for 375 yards and five TDs in his first year of high school football that got college coaches so worked up in the first place.

The main goal for this fall, besides helping the Eagles win, of course, is to stay injury-free and get to 275 pounds and a 4.7 40-yard dash speed.

In 2002, Coleman can help the Buckeyes win. Ohio State fired long-time coach John Cooper after failing to win the Outback Bowl last season and failing to even go to a bowl game at all in 1999.

But new coach Jim Tressel brings the right attitude to the Buckeyes, one that's appealing to Coleman.

"He really got personal with you," Coleman said. "He seemed like he really cares about what the players are doing."

And Tressel will keep the same offense, which means Coleman should see several passes come his way, a feature he saw while observing spring practices in Columbus, Ohio.

"I'll fit in real well in that offense," he said. "They throw to their tight ends a lot."

Sports writer Rob Peirce can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at sports@exponent-telegram.com.

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