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Prized recruit Keon Coleman to play football and basketball at Kansas

Prized recruit Keon Coleman to play football and basketball at Kansas
Photo: Kansas University/MGN

LAWRENCE, Kan. (BVM) — Kansas football and basketball fans were given a pleasant holiday surprise on July 4.

Keon Coleman, a four-star wide receiver and a standout basketball player from Opelousas, La., announced via Instagram Live that he would be joining the Jayhawks on the gridiron and the hardwood after he graduates in 2021.

The announcement came as somewhat of a surprise considering Oklahoma was pegged as the frontrunner to land the two-sport star, but Coleman’s relationship with Kansas coaches made a big difference in his decision.

“I’ve got a good connection with the [Kansas] coaching staff,” Coleman said in an interview with Sports Illustrated. “They’re going to use me in the best way to get me to the NFL, and I feel like I can change the culture over there.”

Coleman, tabbed as the nation’s No. 14 receiver by Top247, is Kansas’ first four-star commit in the Les Miles era. As a junior last season, the 6-foot-4, 185-pound wideout hauled in 35 passes for 1,143 yards and scored 22 touchdowns. He also had seven interceptions on defense for Opelousas Catholic. Coleman averaged 20 points for the Vikings’ basketball team each of the past two seasons, and while he has the potential to become a future NFL draft pick, there’s a chance he could still eventually prioritize basketball over football in Lawrence.

“I could go for either one,” Coleman told Sports Illustrated. “Whichever [offers] the better chance.”

Kansas traditionally has one of the best basketball programs in the country. The Jayhawks own the record for most consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances with an active streak of 30 and they’ve won over 500 games during the 17-year tenure of current head coach Bill Self, who led them to a national title in 2008, a runner-up finish in 2012, a Final Four in 2017 as well as four Elite Eight and two Sweet 16 appearances.

The Kansas football program, meanwhile, has struggled mightily over the past decade. The Jayhawks haven’t been ranked in the top 25 since 2009 and haven’t played in a bowl game since 2008. But they’re hoping to rebuild under Miles, who previously turned around Oklahoma State and had seven 10-win seasons and won a national championship with LSU.

The chance to be a key contributor and a big part of Miles’ rebuild also worked in Kansas’ favor with Coleman.

“I’m the type of player that can go to a school like Kansas and make it a bigger [football] school,” Coleman told Sports Illustrated. “I’m gonna start the trend.”

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