Coleman up for national award

From UCLA:

CAMP HILL, Pa. – UCLA Running Back Derrick Coleman has been named one of five finalists for the 2011 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award. The honor is presented annually to recognize a leader in the world of college football who has realized their potential to make a positive and lasting impact on the rare disease community. More than 30 million Americans are affected by rare diseases.

The 3rd annual award winner will be determined by an online vote beginning Tuesday, February 1st. The Champion will be announced at a public awards ceremony at the end of the month with details to be released at a later date. Previous winners include American Football Coaches Association Executive Director, Grant Teaff (2009); and Dickinson College Quarterback, Ian Mitchell (2010).

Derrick Coleman’s mom was concerned when his speech wasn’t progressing as a small child. It was determined that Derrick was almost completely deaf. A missing gene was to blame and as a result, Derrick was fitted for hearing aids. His lack of hearing hasn’t hindered Coleman in the least little bit. He was UCLA’s second leading rusher this past season. Coleman knows he can be a role model and ever since his sophomore year of high school, he’s spoken to groups about the challenges he’s faced. “My message is ‘there’s no excuse as to why they can’t succeed,’” Coleman says. “If I can do it, they too can do it.”

The other 2011 finalists: North Carolina State Offensive Coordinator, Dana Bible; Minnesota Head Coach Jerry Kill; Princeton Running Back, Jordan Culbreath; and Wisconsin Quarterback Scott Tolzien. To read each finalist’s personal story and cast your vote for this year’s Champion, log onto: www.upliftingathletes.org/vote.

About Uplifting Athletes: Uplifting Athletes is a full service national nonprofit organization aligning college football with rare diseases and raising them as a national priority through research, outreach, education and advocacy. What makes Uplifting Athletes unique is that our university chapters are run by current football student-athletes, providing them with an opportunity to gain management and leadership skills while learning how to leverage their assets and abilities to make a positive and lasting impact. Each chapter adopts one out of approximately 7,000 rare diseases (such as ALS, Aplastic Anemia, CMT, cystic fibrosis, Ehlers-Danlos, Ewing’s Sarcoma, Kidney Cancer, Leukemia, MS, Neimann Pick Type-C, Neuroblastoma, pancreatic cancer, etc.). ###

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Chat new commit Will Oliver’s coach

I wasn’t able to reach Will Oliver, the 6-foot-8 OL from NorCal who intends to sign with UCLA on Wednesday, but I chatted with his coach Jeff Haagenson a few minutes ago:

Gold: When did UCLA get involved on Will?
Haagenson: “The first time I heard was when Coach Angus McClure called Monday or Tuesday of last week, wanted to stop by. Some guys are stopping by for next year, or trying to get a guy late, so we expect this, but he said he was coming by to take a look at Oliver. Now, Will was committed to Sac State, but I’m sure anybody would take a look at UCLA.”

Gold: Did he have any more interest from other colleges? His name doesn’t seem to be out there much?
Haagenson: “Will was really committed to Sac State, really committed. They were the first school on him junior year. Fresno State came through, Reno came through, but he didn’t even listen to offers. I got a call Thursday night from Angus, and Coach Neuheisel and wanted to meet with Will.
Coach Neuheisel is just brimming with personality, just takes over the room, and he was really good with Will. And Will really liked them back. Will wouldn’t take a trip to Reno or Fresno State, but he took a visit last weekend to UCLA, said he had a great time, loved UCLA and told the Sac State coaches that he was changing.”

Gold: When did he get an offer?
Haagenson: “Sunday morning at breakfast.”

Gold: What can you tell me about Will?
Haagenson: “Will is kind of a late-bloomer. He was 6-4 as a freshman, so it wasn’t like he grew a foot, but he was a little overweight at that time, and not just soft physically, but mentally. He was always bigger, he was never bullied, he never had to be a tough guy. Came into high school a little soft, played football and wrestled, got into much better condition. The only problem was, wrestling took him away from the weight room. But he’s been getting much better.
I don’t know if his heart was into football until after his junior year. He didn’t start, we were a really good line, three returning all-league guys. He sat for a year, didn’t get a lot of looks, but he had a great senior year, started a little slow but by the end, he was killing guys. This scholarship is probably based on the last three games of his career. We played Deer Valley, Pittsburg and De La Salle, and he was just crushing those guys. And those are solid defensive linemen. Once Fresno State was interested, Reno was in and word kind of spreads.”

Gold: What should UCLA fans expect from him?
Haagenson: “Will is just a charming kid. Looks you in the eye, he smiles. I’m sure hes a breath of fresh air for recruiters. His upside is huge. He’s really starting to love football, and he is going to be something.”

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UCLA might get big commit

A friend who works for a newspaper up north is telling me that Will Oliver, a 6-foot-8 OL from Heritage High in Brentwood (Northern California), has decided to switch his commitment from Sacramento State to UCLA and will sign an LOI on Wednesday.

There is not much information about Oliver, but I found a few videos: Check out one here

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Weekly Q&A

Fire away with questions for this week’s Q&A. Please don’t post new questions on the answers section, because I don’t always check the comments. Save them for next week.

Thanks
Jon

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UCLA picks up great win over ASU, 73-72 in overtime

UCLA head coach Ben Howland called it a great win, and his players followed suit, everything hunky-dory in the Bruins’ locker room.

This, after UCLA needed overtime to defeat a downtrodden Arizona State squad, just 1-8 in Pac-10 play, after holding a 15-point lead.

Great sure means something different for these Bruins.

UCLA eked out the 73-72 overtime win on Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena, moving to 6-3 in Pac-10 games, despite letting the Sun Devils catch fire in the second half.

“Absolutely it’s a great win,” Howland said. “Absolutely. 100 percent. Every win is great. Every win is hard-fought. Every win you get in the Pac-10 is a great win, trust me.”

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