Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Lincoln East Malachi Coleman Ultimately Picks Nebraska on Early Signing Day

December 21, 2022

One of the most twisting stories in Nebraska in-state recruiting came to a close with the swipe of a pen on Early National Signing Day.

Lincoln East standout Malachi Coleman signed to Nebraska on Wednesday, committing for a second time, giving the program one of its most valuable in-state pledges in recent years. He previously committed during a ceremony at Lincoln East on October 22. Coleman, the composite No. 2 overall athlete, decommitted from Nebraska on December 1 amid the shakeup in the Nebraska coaching staff.

New Nebraska head coach Matt Rhule reached out to Coleman immediately and ensured the 4-star athlete he was a priority. Rhule stopped at Lincoln East during his city-wide check on recruits and joined the Coleman family for an in-home visit. Coleman then took an official visit to Lincoln earlier this month.

Nebraska staved off a late charge from Colorado. Tight ends coach Tim Brewster and head coach Deion Sanders heavily courted Coleman through their coaching transition. Brewster visited the Coleman family shortly after the recruiting period opened. Coleman canceled an official visit to Michigan and rerouted to Boulder the week after his visit to Lincoln.

Coleman’s decision remained between the two after those visits. He tweeted earlier today that he reached his decision and streamed his signing.

Coleman received nearly three dozen offers in total. At his original commitment ceremony, his decision came down between Oklahoma, Georgia, Michigan, Ole Miss, Oregon and USC. Coleman said his original decision came down to the interim coaching staff. He wasn’t going to consider Nebraska under the previous coaching staff. Then came the personnel adjustment and his commitment. Coleman re-opened his recruiting process as Rhule assembled his staff, but continued to consider Nebraska. On Wednesday he committed again, completing his recruiting process with a third head coach at Nebraska.

The homegrown prospect steadily rose up the recruiting rankings the last two years, due in part to an explosive junior season. He became the big play threat for the Spartans in connection with quarterback Noah Walters, now at North Alabama. Coleman scored 10 touchdowns on 17 catches for 561 yards, averaging 33.0 yards per catch. On defense, he made 57 tackles and 7.5 sacks with four forced fumbles. He tallied 496 yards and six touchdowns on 31 catches through double coverage on offense and 32 tackles this season. He’s an improved run blocker on the edge, embracing the physicality of shoving defenders. 

Coleman’s athleticism and size stands out on the field, court and track. The three-sport athlete is a forward on the Spartans’ basketball team and a sprinter and jumper in the spring. As a sophomore he leaped 45 feet, 1 inch for fourth in the triple jump mark at the state meet. That year he posted season-best marks of 11.29 in the 100, 22.63 in the 200 and 45-9 in the triple jump. He improved all those marks during his junior year, posting personal-records in the 100 (10.46), 200 (21.34) and triple jump (46-4.5). He finished second in both sprints and third in the triple jump at state.

Coleman runs a 4.38 40 with a 42-inch vertical. He bench presses 285 pounds, hang cleans 340, squats 450 and deadlifts 530.

Not only has he gotten faster, he continues to grow into his body. He added about 20 pounds to his 6-foot-5 frame between his junior and senior football seasons. His coaches marveled as his athleticism, physicality, ability and character.

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