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A bullish back who has been among UCLA's best freshman performers, Coleman has overcome a profound...

A bullish back who has been among UCLA's best freshman performers, Coleman has overcome a profound hearing deficiency in both ears to become a potential star for the Bruins, who host Oregon State on Saturday at the Rose Bowl. "He's got a huge upside," Neuheisel said of the 6-foot, 218-pounder from Fullerton. "It's exciting to think about what he might get done while he's here." With a running style with the effect of a bowling ball, Coleman has been UCLA's best back despite being slowed by a knee surgery in training camp and sharing playing time with senior Kahlil Bell. Coleman has a team-high 197 yards on 36 carries with a touchdown and has shown flashes of explosiveness, though his running style is more for churning out 5 and 6 yards at a time. But there was a time when football was something Coleman only dreamed of playing. When he was about 4, Coleman's parents noticed a slight speech impediment and took him to see doctors who found he had a profound hearing loss in both ears, the result of a recessive gene. Coleman said that on a scale of 1 to 10, his hearing is about a 3. Growing up, he asked his parents for permission to play football but they initially said no, worried that hits to his head would further damage his hearing. However, after being reassured by doctors and realizing how much their son wanted to play, they relented, and Coleman immediately showed promise on the field.

Another Wonderful Story on Derrick Coleman (The Press Enterprise)
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