Poor decision costs Coleman proper sendoff

By Bob Wilson  |   Monday, December 25, 2006  |  Comments( 5 )

Clemson Tigers
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Clemson starting cornerback Duane Coleman will not be allowed to play in his final game. Coleman was arrested and charged with simple possession of marijuana on Wednesday. He graduated on Thursday and learned that he was suspended Friday for the Music City Bowl on Dec. 29.

It seemed that the senior had come a long way. He entered Clemson as a partial qualifier and worked hard to graduate. Coleman began his career as a running back and is the only player in Tiger history to start a bowl game on both sides of the ball. He was the starting tailback in the 2004 Peach Bowl against Tennessee and a starting cornerback in the 2005 Champs Sports Bowl versus Colorado.

He led the team in rushing as a freshman in 2003, but was soon passed on the depth chart by Reggie Merriweather in 2004 after he broke his foot in a drill before his sophomore season. Coleman was nearly kicked off the team the following year after a much-publicized fight with head coach Tommy Bowden in which he refused to participate in the same drill that broke his foot in 2004. In 2005, he dropped to third string after the arrival of James Davis.

Last season, Coleman approached the defensive coaches about moving to cornerback after it was apparent his playing time on offense was going to be minimal. Tye Hill successfully made the switch from running back to cornerback a few years prior, so Coleman had a blueprint to follow.

At first, defensive coordinator Vic Koenning wasn't sure he wanted Coleman because of a perceived attitude problem. However, the Naples (Florida) native worked hard and became a valuable part of the secondary by the end of the season.

This year he has been one of the team leaders. He finished the season as the fourth-leading tackler (81) and recovered three fumbles, also tallying one interception. More important than his stats, though, was Coleman's presence on the field and in the locker room.

After a rocky start to his Clemson career, Coleman seemingly had put his troubles behind him. Unfortunately, a poor decision will end his career one game too soon, on a sour note.
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