Name: Kurt Coleman
Hometown: Dayton, Ohio
High School: Northmont
Position: Strong Safety
Last season: Had a team-leading four interceptions, second-team All-Big Ten, third on team with 78 tackles
This season: Will be the leader on a defense that lost five starters
By Kyle Rowland, OhioStateBuckeyes.com
Senior leadership is often times the biggest force driving a football team. The Ohio State defense has been blessed with savvy leaders throughout the years and this coming fall is no different.
Senior Kurt Coleman will help anchor a unit that strives to be one of the best in the nation and help lead the Buckeyes to new heights.
“It’s not just me,” Coleman said. “All the seniors help lead the team because it’s our team. I think all of us have really taken the leadership role upon our shoulders and we are doing a great job.”
The three-year starter has made an impact since he arrived on the OSU campus his freshman year. He has a knack for making plays when they are needed. Whether it was blocking a 50-yard field goal his freshman season against Bowling Green or collecting two key interceptions in last season’s game against Troy, Coleman has made the most out of his opportunities.
A second team All-Big Ten performer last season, Coleman had a team-leading four interceptions. He has already been named to the 2009 Lott Trophy watch list, awarded to the nation’s top defensive player who had the biggest IMPACT (Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity) on their teams on and off the field. Former Buckeye James Laurinaitis won the award last year.
“It’s a blessing,” Coleman said about being named to the watch list. “At the same time I can’t credit myself. For all the accolades I get, it is a tribute to my teammates. My success will come with the team success. If we do well that usually means individually you are doing well.”
That team-first mentality has shone through during spring practice. Coleman has taken a role mentoring the young players in the secondary as he tries to get healthy.
“I’m really vocal,” Coleman said. “I try to give the younger guys tips and knowledge. When I’m out there I feel like I can lead by example and I think that’s what you need in a leader.”
The team camaraderie, senior tackle and senior day at Ohio Stadium would not be possible, though, had Coleman forgone his senior year of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft. It was a long process, but in the end, Coleman wanted to experience those special moments that come along with being a student-athlete.
“It was a big decision for my family and me,” Coleman said. “My mom and dad really wanted me to come back and get my degree, so I’m really excited about that.”