Saraland’s Antonio Coleman (95) slams into Lipscomb quarterback Deuce Knight and causes a fumble during the Spartans’ 31-30 win on Aug. 25. Coleman, a four-star defensive lineman, committed to Alabama Monday night. (Todd Stacey/Call News)
By JIMMY WIGFIELD
Antonio Coleman’s dream of playing football for Alabama has come true. Those who must face him on the field just want the chance for peaceful slumber, not nightmares.
“If you’re playing center against us, you’re not sleeping super well the night before,” Saraland coach Jeff Kelly said.
The Spartans’ 6-foot-2, 265-pound junior nose guard said on social media Monday night he has committed to the Crimson Tide, making the announcement on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The four-star prospect — who is rated the No. 25 defensive lineman nationally and the No. 13 prospect in Alabama in the 2025 class in On3’s composite — had indicated over the summer he would wait to make his decision. But he committed after attending the Alabama-Texas game Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium with Saraland teammates Ryan Williams, who has also committed to the Crimson Tide, and K.J. Lacey, who has committed to the Longhorns.
“It felt like home,” Coleman said Monday night. “It feels like home every time I go. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to play for Alabama. I want to fulfill my dream. I know Alabama puts out a lot of good players and No. 1 draft picks.”
Coleman said he felt especially good after talking with Tide coach Nick Saban at Saturday night’s game.
“He made me feel like I was welcome,” Coleman said. “They made everything clear on what I’d be doing up there. I’d say nine times out of 10, I’ll be playing nose.”
Coleman has also been offered by Auburn, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State, Texas, Texas A&M, Clemson, Florida, Arkansas and Southern Cal, among others.
Kelly said Coleman has the potential to be a dominant SEC down lineman.
“He can be and just about every program in the SEC agrees with that thought,” Kelly said. “Last year he was good but the first three games this season he’s playing at that level.”
Coleman emerged as a Power 5 prospect as a sophomore, when he made 69 tackles, 20 for losses, 3½ sacks and had 12 quarterback hurries.
He is playing on an even higher plane this season and has become more than a run stopper. In the nationally televised 31-30 win over Lipscomb Academy to open the season in August, Coleman had 10 tackles, three for losses, a sack, a hurry and caused a fumble when he chased down scrambling quarterback Deuce Knight.
“I’m playing faster and with more explosiveness off the ball,” Coleman said.
Kelly said Coleman’s improved habits in the weight room and in practice have made him more consistent in games.
“He’s really developed as a football player and a person,” Kelly said. “He’s got a great work ethic. He plays with a high motor and is very disruptive. He creates a lot of uncomfortable feelings for opposing quarterbacks and offensive linemen. He’s also creating opportunities for other players to make plays.”
Coleman joins Williams as commitments in Alabama’s 2025 recruiting class and said Williams was excited by the news.
“He was jumping up and down,” Coleman said. “He likes knowing he’s got a friend he’s been playing with since park ball to continue our journey to college.”