Keon Coleman expressed nothing but gratitude afterward.
The former Opelousas Catholic multi-sport star had just put on a pass-catching clinic in the Camping World Kickoff in Orlando. In Sunday night’s 45-24 victory over LSU, Coleman led Florida State with nine receptions for 122 yards and three touchdowns, including a 40-yard score.
A dominant performance that nabbed him ACC Player of the Week honors on Tuesday afternoon.
Coleman celebrated the victory by first backflipping on the field as the time expired, cutting some of the purple sod from the field, and then in the locker room as he took out the team’s sledgehammer and broke the rock with LSU painted on it.
Despite putting on that type of performance that inspired plenty of buzz on social media, particularly his prospects as an NFL draft pick, Coleman expressed thanks to FSU and head coach Mike Norvell for giving him the opportunity.
“Well, really just being thankful for the opportunity,” Coleman said. “Coach saying yes to me, coming to a new school after the transfer portal, and believing in me. I’m grateful for my teammates, getting to show them the hard work that we have been putting in the whole summer is paying off and getting to show a glimpse of what I can do, and not only me, just what our whole receiver room and the rest of the team can do.”
Almost on cue, his new coach jumped in with a witty response that drew laughter in the press conference.
“I’m grateful for you saying yes, too,” Norvel said.
It was a tremendous debut for the Acadiana native who is looking to build off a breakout season.
In 2022, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Coleman led Michigan State in receptions (58), receiving yards (798) and receiving touchdowns (7). In two seasons playing in East Lansing, Coleman has 65 receptions for 848 yards and 8 touchdowns in 22 career games, including 12 starts.
That made him a prized recruit in the NCAA Transfer Portal when he entered it after spring football wrapped up. It didn’t take long for teams to come calling as both Ole Miss and FSU expressed interest early in having Coleman join their respective squads.
FSU star quarterback Jordan Travis raved Sunday night about what Coleman brings both on and off the field.
“He’s a really special player and a special teammate,” Travis said after Sunday’s win. “I always talk about the person before the player. He’s a great teammate to have in the locker room. It’s always good vibes with him. He puts a smile on your face every single day when you walk in there. He always has energy, and you love playing with guys like that and playing for guys like that because he’s just a great person. He’s a great athlete, a great player, and he works so hard.”
There has been plenty of talk about Coleman not playing for the team he went up against on Sunday night.
During his career at Opelousas Catholic, Coleman was a two-time first-team all-state selection for the Vikings’ football team, including scoring 22 touchdowns as a junior. He was also ranked as a three-star athlete by 247Sports, ESPN.com, and Rivals.com but Coleman wanted to play both basketball and football.
He originally committed to do just that for the Kansas Jayhawks before choosing to sign with Michigan State over dozens of FBS programs including Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee, Texas, Baylor, and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.
LSU did not offer Coleman a scholarship during the 2021 recruiting cycle, instead signing five other wide receivers including in-state stars Comeaux’s Mailk Nabers, Zachary’s Chris Hilton, Walker’s Brian Thomas Jr., and St. Thomas More’s Jack Bech.
So when Coleman was asked if there was any extra motivation about playing against the team that didn’t offer him a scholarship back in high school, the former OC star downplayed it.
“I’m going to be honest, I don’t think so,” said Coleman, who recently launched his merchandise store keoncoleman.com. “I mean, I took it as a game, I get to go out and just do what the Lord has blessed me to do, just play football and be able to have fun with it and take every game as its own and just go out there and try to get the W. But it added a little salt to the wound. That’s my home state. A lot of my family are fans of them, but I ain’t so much of a fan of them. I’m a Seminole now.”