Why is TCU captain Brandon Coleman eager to start new era with Washington Commanders?

TCU has a well earned reputation for putting defensive backs in the NFL, but it may come as a surprise that the Horned Frogs have also become one of the better programs at developing offensive lineman.

Former team captain Brandon Coleman became the latest offensive lineman to go early in the NFL draft after the Washington Commanders selected him in the third round last month.

With Coleman’s selection, the Horned Frogs currently have 10 players on NFL rosters, tied with Alabama, Georgia, Wisconsin and one spot behind LSU. Coleman got the call from the Commanders surrounded by his loved ones at an AirBnB in Dallas.

“It was just me and my family and some of friends that flew in from Germany,” Coleman said. “I was in the kitchen talking to my guys, I wasn’t even looking at it and then I heard the call. I don’t remember much, I was all over the place... They said they loved the way I was as a person and how I’ll fit right in there with their culture. I’m excited to be there for sure.”

A former basketball player, Coleman said TCU was crucial in his development into becoming a NFL offensive lineman.

“I think TCU gets overlooked as an offensive line school,” Coleman said. “We were a big defensive school with (Gary Patterson) here and even now we also have great defensive players and do a great job on defense. To show that we also have offensive linemen that are still going great from past years and even the guys coming out now like Steve (Avila), me, Andrew (Coker), Willis (Patrick).

“Coach (A.J.) Ricker does a great job of developing us and the guys to come. (People) should for sure look out for TCU with offensive line play.”

Coleman looks to follow in the footsteps of Avila, a former teammate and close friend. Avila was drafted in the second round last season and made an immediate impact with the Los Angeles Rams as they had a bounce back season and made the playoffs.

The situation in Washington will be much different for Coleman with a new head coach, offensive coordinator and of course, a new quarterback in No. 2 overall pick Jayden Daniels.

Being on the ground for the start of a new era in the Washington franchise is one of the many reasons Coleman was ecstatic to be selected by the Commanders.

“I think it’s exciting because everybody is getting used to everything,” Coleman said. “The O.C., the players, we’re all kind of learning together. It’s cool to go through this process of learning a whole new offense with the vets that are coming in and learning from them how they adapt to those types of things.”

Coleman’s versatility was a big reason he was able to shoot up draft boards after starting 30-plus games and logging well over 2,000 snaps during his playing career in Fort Worth.

Washington plans to start Coleman off at tackle with the option of sliding him inside to guard if necessary. As for how he’ll prepare to make the transition to the next level, Coleman has relied on Avila for some much needed wisdom after his successful rookie season.

“He was at my draft party and he was able to share that moment with me,” Coleman said. “He was like the calmest one there because he went through it last year. It was cool to have him there, he’s talked me through a lot of things the last few months. We did everything together and I appreciate him a lot for sharing that with me.

“He just told me going into these camps and OTAs, just don’t get overwhelmed with everything. At the end of the day it’s only football, yeah it’s on a greater scale against greater athletes, but trust in your own skill and learn as you go.”

Coleman understands he doesn’t need to be perfect, just effective when it comes to keeping Daniels protected. At the time of the press conference Coleman had yet to meet Daniels, but the Commanders just completed their rookie mini-camp last week.

The three days spent together over the weekend were hopefully the start of a strong relationship on and off the field. Coleman could barely hold back his excitement of being on the same team as the Heisman Trophy winner.

“I’ve seen that guy make I don’t know how many plays,” Coleman said with a smile. “The stuff that he can do, how versatile he is as a runner and with the pass game, you want that guy on your team and you want to protect that guy. It’ll be fun playing with him for sure.”

After a standout career at TCU, now Coleman will have an opportunity to help one of the NFL’s historic franchises get back to their winning ways.

It’s an opportunity he’s been dreaming of his entire life.

“I’m excited to be there and get to work. I’m excited about being a Commander,” Coleman said.