Arizona transfer RB Jonah Coleman a 'guy that players gravitate toward'
On Coleman, Scottie Graham and other Washington roster transition notes.
The harbinger for Arizona’s turnaround under Jedd Fisch did not come on the field; the Wildcats finished 1-11 in 2021, Fisch’s first season, and might have gone 0-12 if not for Berkeley Public Health.
Rather, it arrived that December in the form of Arizona’s 2022 recruiting class, which supplied the backbone for the Wildcats’ climb to a 10-win season in 2023. The group of 23 high-school prospects ranked No. 22 nationally, per the 247Sports Composite, Arizona’s first top-25 class in 16 years. It included names like quarterback Noah Fifita, receiver Tetairoa McMillan, linebacker Jacob Manu, offensive lineman Jonah Savaiinaea and defensive back Ephesians Prysock.
Before any of those players committed, though, Fisch’s first big class included running back Jonah Coleman, a three-star prospect from Stockton (Calif.) Lincoln, who committed to the Wildcats in March 2021, before Fisch had coached a game in Tucson.
Now, Coleman is among the first wave of players to choose Fisch at Washington, as the junior-to-be announced over the weekend that he will transfer from Arizona to UW. In an offseason thus far marked by departures — in the wake of coach Kalen DeBoer’s own exit to Alabama — Coleman is a welcome addition. The 5-foot-9, 225-pound back rushed for 871 yards and 6.8 yards per rush as a sophomore last season, establishing as Arizona’s primary tailbacks as the Wildcats enjoyed their first 10-win season since 2014.
Arizona has largely maintained its 2022 core, even as Fisch begins to put together his first roster at Washington. Fifita, McMillan and Manu — all high-school teammates at Anaheim (Calif.) Servite — announced last week they’re staying at Arizona to play for new coach Brent Brennan, and another 2022 Servite signee, tight end Keyan Burnett, withdrew from the portal on Monday. Savaiinaea and fellow 2022 offensive lineman Wendell Moe are staying put, too. Prysock is in the transfer portal, though his destination is yet unknown.
Coleman, though, will be part of Fisch’s initial foundation at Washington, even if nobody quite knows what the rest of the roster will look like.
“Every team has that guy that the players gravitate toward, and he was that guy for us,” said Natello Howard, Coleman’s coach at Lincoln. “Not just a running back — he’s a very good football player.”