Born 10 weeks premature, the odds were stacked against Tevin Coleman from day one. Perseverance would be a trait that would come in handy during his college football career.
Despite only playing the equivalent of two full seasons, Coleman is the program’s 5th all-time leading rusher with 3,219 yards. Truly an outlier, he can claim something unique from all of the other Hoosiers on the all-time top ten list, with a gaudy career average of more than 7 yards per rushing attempt.
It all came together for the Illinois native in a magical 2014 season when Coleman became the program’s third ever unanimous and consensus first team All-American. He also received first team All-Big Ten honors.
Coleman placed seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2014, the best finish by a Hoosier since Antwaan Randle El’s sixth-place showing in 2001. Finishing with a program record 2,036 yards, Coleman became just the 18th player in FBS history to reach 2,000 rushing yards in a single season. He ranks 15th on the all-time single season FBS list, and broke Vaughn Dunbar’s single season IU mark by more the 200 yards. Coleman was just the third Big Ten rusher to ever reach the milestone in the regular season.
Despite the truly impressive statistics for Coleman, they may not have been enough on their own to help him make this list. You have to more closely examine that 2014 season to appreciate why Tevin Coleman is one of the greatest Hoosiers ever. This is where Coleman’s perseverance would pay off.
As we mentioned in our discussion of #7 on this list, Nate Sudfeld, IU lost its starting quarterback mid way through the 2014 season. The Hoosiers were not in a situation where they had a high-caliber backup at the ready. In fact at one point, current Dallas Cowboys linebacker Chris Covington tooks snaps at quarterback.
Opposing defenses went from respecting IU’s potent passing attack to stacking the box with nine or more defenders. There was now just one thing you had to do to stop Indiana — stop Tevin Coleman. And no one could do it.
In the games that Sudfeld missed, Coleman rushed 165 times for 1,195 yards, or 7.24 yards per carry. This included the second best single game rushing total in IU history, with 307 yards against Rutgers, and a game on the road against a top ten Ohio State team where Coleman’s efforts actually had IU in the lead in the third quarter. He went for 228 yards in that game.
Tevin Coleman was a 3rd round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons and continues to play a key role with the team today.
Prior IU greats on the list:
#10 — John Isenbarger
#9 — Dan Feeney
#8 — James Hardy
#7 – Nate Sudfeld
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