boomtho: I liked Deandre Coleman. He usually seemed to play hard and and keep his nose clean, and he was worth 1 or 2 'wow' plays most games (like driving multiple offensive lineman backwards by himself). I think Cal fans (I know I did!) expected greatness from him - we saw his athletic gifts and assumed he would follow a development trajectory like Tyson Alualu and Cameron Jordan. Coleman never quite got there - perhaps his effort was inconsistent, perhaps he wasn't surrounded with defensive talent like Jordan and Alualu were, or perhaps it was the 3 DL coaches (Lupoi, Howard, Sacks) and multiple DC's he played for (personally I think this was a huge and underlooked factor).
Still, at the end of the day, Coleman was a great representative of the university and was responsible for some great Cal memories for me. He also graduated which is awesome. I definitely wish him the best of luck in pursuing his NFL career!
Nick Kranz: My main memory of Deandre was intently staring at him on every Cal defensive play for the last 6/7 games of the season in 2014, because when Cal was on defense I was desperate to watch anybody who played well. So if I just paid attention only to Deandre in the middle (alongside a usually competent-or-better Moala) then I could watch good football when Cal was on defense.
It's sad that my main memory of Deandre says more about Cal's 2013 defense than it does about Deandre, but such was the painful reality of last year. A good dude stuck in a bad situation, so I suppose his college situation might be solid preparation for playing in Jacksonville.
Leland Wong: Deandre Coleman was a steady and reliable stalwart during his career at Cal, but he probably won't be remembered by the fans as fondly as we think of names like Tyson Alualu or Cameron Jordan. Coleman came to Memorial as a fairly highly-ranked recruit and the fans, perhaps spoiled by D-linemen the caliber of Alualu and Jordan, had high hopes for him; fans were particularly excited to see him have a breakout junior or senior season and become a destructive and disruptive playmaker for the Bears. The experts helped fan the fire (and saw the same potential), routinely placing him highly on preseason all-conference and award watchlists. It's unfortunate that Coleman had such high expectations placed on him because it will overshadow his contributions as a reliable big man who helped clog the middle of the line as a senior, occasionally forcing the opposing offense to dedicate double teams to block him.
Avinash Kunnath: Coleman has had an interesting career at Cal that was somewhat bereft of highlights. He was incredibly talented when he was recruited back in 2009, but he was a 4-3 defensive tackle who had to adjust to a team that was transitioning to the 3-4. Coleman was buried on the bench while Cameron Jordan, Ernest Owusu, and Trevor Guyton all took their turns up front. Additionally, Derrick Hill, Aaron Tipoti and Kendrick Payne would all be rotating in at nose tackle, so Coleman didn’t really start seeing extended playing time until 2012 when spots opened up at defensive end.
Coleman has the size to be a defensive tackle. Clocking in at 6’5, 310 pounds, the big defensive lineman is an imposing force. He proved to be very difficult to take to the ground last season, always managing to stay on his feet. He held his gap and allowed linebackers the opportunity to make the tackle on the ball-carrier. He managed to be durable and stay on the field for a majority of the snaps. He also occasionally made his way free of his blocker and get into the backfield.
Unfortunately, Coleman wasn’t much of a playmaker—not many defensive tackles are, but you never really felt he was making his stamp on the game. He would always put up solid B-level performances at defensive tackle but never really get the better of his man and blew up running plays. Often it felt like Coleman would either hold his ground or force his man back a little bit.