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Lavon Coleman and Malik Williams didn't hear their names called after seven rounds of the NFL draft last week.

However, their phones were ringing after the draft wrapped up Saturday afternoon.

Coleman, a Lompoc High grad who spent five years at the University of Washington, landed at his dream destination. Coleman signed an undrafted free agent deal with the Houston Texans.

Williams, a North Carolina native who starred at Hancock College for one season before moving on to Louisville, signed a free agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons.

Coleman and Williams are both running backs.

In January, LCCN reporter Lorenzo J. Reyna caught up with Coleman, who had his heart set on joining the Texans even back then.

“Anybody that calls, I’m going. Although, the Houston Texans will be a fun choice to play for because they’re a pro-style offense and they haven’t really strayed away from that much,” Coleman said then. “Plus (quarterback) Deshaun Watson is down there. So is (receiver) De’Andre Hopkins. You’ve got an air raid and a quarterback – so there’s a lot of things you can mix it up with. If you can get a good running game down there, it’ll be fun.”

Coleman, a 2013 graduate of Lompoc High, rushed 374 times for 2,000 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Huskies. He also caught three touchdown passes. 

The 6-foot, 225-pound back easily had his best season in Seattle in 2016. As a redshirt junior, Coleman broke the school's yard-per-carry record with a 7.5 average. Coleman finished the year with 852 yards on just 114 carries with seven touchdowns. Coleman helped Washington advance to the College Football Playoff semifinals, where they lost to eventual runner-up Alabama.

Last season, Coleman rushed 89 times for 407 yards and four touchdowns. Coleman finished his Washington career averaging 5.3 yards per carry.

At Lompoc, Coleman spent three years on the Braves' varsity squad under head coach Andrew Jones. Coleman was solid as a sophomore in 2010, but had a breakout 2011 season. As a junior, Coleman rushed 295 times for 2,038 yards and 26 touchdowns. 

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Hancock College's Malik Williams (4) returns a punt against the Ventura College Pirates during a 2015 game in Santa Maria.

Coleman capped off his prep career with 887 yards on 128 carries as he battled through nagging injuries as a senior. Coleman left Lompoc after amassing 3,577 yards and 44 touchdowns on 492 carries. 

The Texans don't have a ton of depth in the backfield, meaning Coleman should compete for a roster spot in training camp. The Texans feature starter Lamar Miller and backup De'Onta Foreman, but not much else is solidified behind those two, though they did sign veteran Alfred Blue to a one-year deal Monday.

Williams, on the otherhand, didn't spend too much time on the Central Coast, coming to Hancock as a sophomore after spending his freshman season of college football at another California junior college.

Though his time in Santa Maria was short, playing in just seven games for the Bulldogs, it was scintillating. Williams was named to the All-State team after he played a bit of receiver, running back and return man for the Bulldogs. He led Hancock with 525 rushing yards on only 93 carries. He also caught 18 passes for 217 yards during his one year at Hancock.

As a senior at Louisville last season, Williams had a productive year for the Cardinals, carrying the ball 67 times for 531 yards and four scores. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Wilson, N.C. native can play a number of positions at the next level. He caught 14 passes last season for 136 yards.

Williams had a pair of noteworthy games for the Cardinals last year. He piled up 180 yards on only nine carries against Syracuse and top 149 yards against North Carolina. 

Williams made his back to the field after suffering a gruesome arm injury midway through the season.

As a junior at Louisville, Williams returned kicks and had 314 yards on returns while rushing 19 times for 145 yards and a score. 

Another football standout with area ties didn't see his named called this past weekend, but is expected to make an appearance in an NFL camp this year. Arroyo Grande High grad Garrett Owens, who kicked at Oregon State and Iowa State, was not drafted. But in the lead-up to the draft Owens worked out for the Los Angeles Rams. 

Last season Owens made 17 of 22 field goals with a long of 45 for the Cyclones. He went 45 for 45 on point-after tries. Three of his nine kickoff attempts were touchbacks. 

Owens not being drafted isn't a surprise, considering only two kickers were taken in the seven rounds of this year's draft.

Utah defensive end Kylie Fitts, from Redlands East Valley High, was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the sixth round. Fitt's father Matt played football at Lompoc High, graduating in the mid-1980s. 

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Joe Bailey is the sports editor at Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Contact him with tips and story ideas at or (805) 739-2239. Follow him on Twitter at


Sports Editor

Alumni Fresno State