Coleman makes bigger impact off the field

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Punting can be a thankless job and for those who do it well like UVA senior Lester Coleman, their impact can go unnoticed at times.

"At the end of the day, if you think about it in terms of football," Coleman said, "Field position and scoring on extra points are some of the most critical things."

After making the All-ACC second team last season, Coleman was selected to the Ray Guy Award watch list, annually awarded to the nation's top punter. But even more critical than a punt downed inside the 20 is Coleman's impact away from Scott Stadium.

Somewhere mixed in with being a student-athlete, Lester works to give back to the community like trips to the UVA Children's Hospital before a home game day.

"Student-athletes, we have a lot on our plate," Coleman said, "But I think it's really important to give back to the community because it wasn't so long ago that I was a ten-year-old who was looking up to college athletes."

Along with being among the nation's top punters, Coleman was nominated for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team for his work in the community. While most would be content as a Division I punter, Coleman knows there are those in more dire situations.

"There are kids who are out there, who don't have enough money to eat lunch," Coleman said, "So the more we can give back to those that are less fortunate and those who need a helping hand the better."

It is trips to local schools and kids in the hospital, where Coleman's unlikely leadership comes out, who was also nominated for the Campbell Trophy, known as the "Academic Heisman."

"For lack of a better word he's a normal guy," Virginia Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall said, "He's part of the team and that's not always the case with specialist positions and our team loves him."

"The platform of playing for the University of Virginia is one of the coolest things about being on this football team," Coleman said.

Unlike any given punt, the impact Coleman has on the Charlottesville community will not go unnoticed.

"It's humbling," Coleman said, "More than anything it just proves that while college football and ACC football is important, it's not the biggest thing at the end of the day."



 
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