Tailback commit Lavon Coleman versatile

If Lavon Coleman (Lompoc, Calif./Lompoc) lived in the heart of Los Angeles, coach Andrew Jones is confident the 5-foot-10, 205-pound running back would be considered among the nation’s elite.

But his coach believes that Coleman living farther up the California coast is the reason the senior has flown under the recruiting radar.

“If he was in the middle of L.A. he would have recognition from SEC schools and everywhere else,” Jones said.

After rushing for 2,038 yards and 26 touchdowns on 295 carries as a junior, Coleman caught the attention of Washington’s coaching staff. He was one of seven players who committed during the Huskies’ Rising Stars Camp on June 29, following in the footsteps of former Lompoc standout and Washington legend Napoleon Kaufman.

“He’s a great kid, very energetic,” Jones said. “I think he’s just a great fit with [running backs] coach [Joel] Thomas, Coach Sark [Steve Sarkisian]. The energy that staff brings to UW, I think Lavon will fit in extremely well.”

When Jones was growing up, his father would pull him out of school early on Friday nights so they could watch Kaufman play.

“He was special,” Jones said. “He was probably the Reggie Bush of the early ’90s there. It’s hard to compare anybody to him.”

Jones said it is impossible to compare Kaufman and Coleman, because they are completely different players. Jones will say Coleman is a durable, every-down back capable of catching the ball out of the backfield, running between the tackles and helping out with pass protection.

“I would say the only thing that he lacks would be that Napoleon Kaufman speed where nobody is going to catch him,” Jones said.

There were games last season when Coleman was given more than 20 carries and asked to spend some time on defense as well. Lompoc will again rely heavily on the big back to carry the load this season.

Once the season ends, Jones expects big things from Coleman at the college level.

“When he gets a year or two under his belt with Ivan [Lewis] and the strength and conditioning staff, he’s going to be a big, powerful, SEC-style back,” Jones said.