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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Larnel Coleman, OT, UMass

Larnel Coleman UMASS NFL Draft
Larnel Coleman is a great competitor that has played on both sides of the offensive line at UMass. He also participated in this year’s College Gridiron Showcase. Coleman recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Larnel Coleman
  • Height: 6’6”
  • Weight: 308 lbs
  • Position: OT
  • College: University of Massachusetts
  • Twitter: @Ace_killa74
  • Instagram: 1_LColeman_5

Talk about your experience as a student. What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
My experience was really good. I enjoyed the community. There was such a respect for one another. My time at UMass helped me build connections with many people. It was cool being at UMass.

My major was Public Health and I had minored in Sociology. I originally wanted to be a Health and Safety Engineer, but now I’m leaning towards helping children with mental health needs. I also participated in ASA (African Student Association) and HASA (Haitian American Student Association). There was one dance in particular that I enjoyed being part of. Towards the end of my time at UMass, I helped the football team put together Black Lives Matter Team Meetings to help bring awareness to the situation.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
My best qualities are that I’m a hard worker and that I am easy to talk to. Most people know that I am very approachable and that I can relate with almost anyone.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
Part of my role is that I bring positive energy. People know they can lean on me when things get hard. I have a “whistle while you work” mentality which is that I just keep doing my thing despite the circumstances. I was voted team captain for the 2020 season. That shows that I can be a leader and that I’m respected by my peers.

As far as schemes, I can be adaptable. I feel like I can work in about any scheme. I’ve started at both LT and RT during my time at UMass. However, I am not opposed to playing guard. In high school I actually didn’t play offensive line. I was a lot skinnier and played TE and DE. There have been many players and coaches that have helped me develop into the sound offensive lineman that I am today.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
Two players come to mind. Charlotte edge rusher Alex Highsmith was a great athlete who had a great motor. He was always chasing after the ball. He was a hard worker that was very disciplined in his technique. Highsmith was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2020 draft by the Steelers. The other player that comes to mind is Zach Allen from Boston College. He’s just a big bodied athlete that was probably the biggest edge rushers that I’ve ever faced. Allen was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2019 draft by the Cardinals.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
There have been many teammates that have impressed me over the years. Yet, the one guy that comes to mind that’s put in a ton of work is Avien Peah. He came in as a tight end and eventually transitioned to defense. He persevered through injuries and showed a lot of heart. He’s become a very disciplined player that is very strong and explosive. And I know that he’s turned a lot of heads of scouts recently.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
During the early part of the pandemic, I had a review from an ex-NFL scout who told me that I wouldn’t be able to make it in the league. After reading his review, that sparked a fire in me. Ever since then, I’ve made it a point to do the best that I can to prove him wrong.

By the end of the season, I received an invitation to play at the College Gridiron Showcase in Fort Worth, TX. I had a great experience there. It allowed me to get in front of professional scouts and show them what I can do. I was able to talk to at least 20 different teams, and some of them were really interested. That just goes to show that one person’s opinion doesn’t dictate who you are or what you can become.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
Basketball was really my first love. I was on the varsity team for three years and was named to the all-star team in our area. We won the state championship when I was a sophomore. I eventually tried out for football, and mind you, I wasn’t much over 200 lbs back then. Through a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and protein shakes, I finally got near the weight I am now and was able to get a football scholarship to UMass.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
I’m most proud of my current position and that I’ve graduated from college. I’m happy that I get the opportunity to prove that I can play at the next level. I’ve been named twice to the Phil Steele Independents team, and was on the Outland Trophy Watch List.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
Being on the offensive line, you don’t get too much spotlight. One of my best moments had to be my first ever start back in 2017 against Maine. One of our players had gone down with a concussion, and I was starting at RT. Playing at Fenway park was amazing. One of the plays I had was making a block on a touchdown run.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
My favorite team is the Baltimore Ravens. Some of the players that I like to model my game after include guys like Trent Williams and David Bakhtiari. Trent just has a dawg mentality when he plays, and with Bakhtiari you can just see his sheer athleticism on every set that he takes.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
Fabolous is my favorite music artist. I like to listen to upbeat Afro beats. 

What is your favorite comfort food?
Mom’s cooking is always the best. My favorite comfort food is mac & cheese and oxtails.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
My favorite movie is Interstellar. One of my favorite actors is Leonardo Dicaprio. An older tv show that I’m enjoying right now is called The Game.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
I like to play paintball. I also like to play video games like Call of Duty.

Who or what motivates you the most?
My mom and my brother really motivate me. They were in a really bad car accident a long time ago. My mom had lost the ability to walk, and my brother suffered a bit of brain damage. My mom hasn’t allowed her circumstances to stop her from doing what she likes to do and neither has my brother. He is now at the point where he’s mostly independent. Seeing them go through their daily struggles really inspires me. I am blessed to be an athlete, and I know football is something that I can’t take for granted. If my family can endure through life with far less physical ability, I have no excuse but to give it my all everyday and be thankful for the opportunity to play the game that I love.

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