At an outdoor Fourth of July barbecue on Saturday night in his hometown of Opelousas, Louisiana, Class of 2021 wide receiver Keon Coleman orally committed to play football at Kansas.
The two-sport athlete who also hopes to play basketball in college picked KU over Oklahoma and South Carolina.
Seated in front of a camera in his driveway with his mother to his left, Coleman revealed on Instagram Live that Kansas was his pick by announcing for KU and putting on a cloth face mask that read “Kansas” in white letters against a blue background on one side and had an American flag on the other.
“This is my mask for the rest of quarantine,” Coleman said. “Rock Chalk.”
The feed drew more than 400 viewers in less than five minutes and Coleman said he wanted to wait until it crossed the 500-viewer mark to make his announcement.
Coleman is a three-star prospect according to Rivals.com, but it’s his four-star rating at 247 Sports that has caught people’s eye.
Coleman’s 247 Sports composite rating of .9064 makes him the highest rated prospect to commit to the Kansas football program since 2000, passing current KU running back Pooka Williams, who carried a rating of.9055.
In addition, 247 Sports has Coleman ranked as the 116th best overall player in his class and the 14th best wideout in the country.
Coleman joins Lawrence High commitment Devin Neal — a four-star running back — as the two highest rated prospects in the 2021 class to date, and the Jayhawks' ability to pull him away from perennial powerhouse Oklahoma is an indication of his potential.
“He could show up and sleepwalk and be the best athlete we’ve got by far,” Opelousas head coach Thomas David recently told SI.com.“There is nobody close. But when you watch him work, you see why schools like Oklahoma and Florida State are finding him at a 1A school in Louisiana.”
Listed at 6-foot-4, 188 pounds, Coleman caught 35 passes for 1,200 yards and 22 touchdowns during his junior season. He also averaged 20 points per game for Opelousas Catholic on the basketball court.
According to Jon Kirby of JayhawkSlant.com, Coleman talked to KU basketball coach Bill Self about walking on to the KU hoops squad during his recruitment.
“Coach Miles said I can make an impact on the football team and coach Self said I could do the same for basketball,” Coleman recently told JayhawkSlant. “It shows that they want me for both sports. I like them a lot. It’s a good opportunity. They are all good people. Coach Miles was telling me he wants to help me get that Heisman (Trophy).”
KU receivers coach Emmett Jones was the lead recruiter for Coleman throughout his recruitment and he is now the 13th player to commit to Kansas in the current football recruiting class.
Three-star wide receiver Keon Coleman will announce his college choice on Saturday and it’s not nearly as cut and dry as it once seemed.
Down to a final three of Kansas, Oklahoma and South Carolina, some late movement has indicated that the Jayhawks are very much alive in the quest for the 6-foot-4, 188-pound playmaker from Opelousas Catholic in Louisiana.
Until recently, all of the analyst picks in Rivals’ FutureCast prediction system had Coleman headed to Oklahoma. That changed Thursday night and early Friday morning, when 10 of the 16 FutureCast participants switched their picks from OU to KU. Two more, including JayhawkSlant’s Jon Kirby, made their predictions for Kansas, as well.
The movement took place in a 12-hour span, between 9:13 p.m. Thursday and 9:25 a.m. Friday, and is an indicator that the Jayhawks have a real shot at landing Coleman.
Similar movement took place on the 247 Sports site, where nine of the 12 Crystal Ball picks now project Coleman to Kansas. 247 has Coleman listed as a four-star prospect.
The receiver himself got in on the fun late Thursday, posting a message to Twitter that said, “Crystal balls don’t mean anything.”
Coleman is expected to make his announcement at 7 p.m. Saturday on Instagram Live.
Ranked by Rivals.com as a three-star prospect, Coleman is the 72nd best wide receiver in the country and 12th best player in Louisiana in the 2021 recruiting class.
Coleman also hopes to play basketball in college and, according to Kirby, has had a conversation with KU coach Bill Self about the Kansas basketball program.
The athletic wing averaged 20 points per game during his junior season in high school, but most believe his future is in football.
Last season, as a junior, Coleman caught 35 passes for 1,200 yards and 22 touchdowns and his size, frame and ability to make plays down the field have him projected as a player with tremendous upside.
KU receivers coach Emmett Jones has been KU’s lead recruiter for Coleman.
The Kansas men’s basketball program recently made the final five for Class of 2021 shooting guard Matthew Cleveland.
Cleveland, who announced a top five of KU, Florida State, Michigan, North Carolina State and Stanford on Twitter, is a 6-foot-6, 190-pound, four-star shooting guard from Atlanta’s Pace Academy, ranked No. 25 in the class according to Rivals.com.
That mark is up 11 spots from his previous ranking in the Rivals 150 and is indicative of his status as a rising prospect whose size and skill have coaches across the country intrigued by his potential.
Rivals.com recruiting analyst Eric Bossi, who recently watched livestream action of Cleveland’s two games with the Atlanta Celtics at The Opening, said Cleveland was “absolutely electric” and “something special” during his most recent outing.
Bossi reported that Cleveland combined for 64 points in those two games and showed the ability to shoot from distance and finish in transition, all while playing with “shot out of a cannon” energy.
“If this is what we can expect from Cleveland here on out, he could be one of the top two or three shooting guard prospects in the class of 2021 and a top 10-15 player nationally,” Bossi wrote.
The fact that KU made the cut in Cleveland’s final five is significant because the Jayhawks are the only blue blood program still in the running and will be competing against just two teams from the South the rest of the way.
According to Rivals.com’s player data base, Cleveland held offers from Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Louisville (among others) — all programs within easy driving distance of Atlanta — but those programs are no longer factors.
NC State (6 hours away) and Florida State (4.5 hours) remain contenders in the region, but KU’s campus is closer to Atlanta than Stanford’s and roughly the same distance as Michigan’s.
None of that matters, of course, if Cleveland doesn’t care about the distance or didn’t want to stay close to home in the first place. But recent recruiting history has shown that it can be tough to pluck prospects out of the South when local programs with good reputations are involved in their recruitment.
Cleveland is very much a player on the rise. He started last summer outside of the Rivals Top 50 and is already in the Top 25 with the potential to move up.
The dynamic guard with great size averaged 22.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game during his junior season and that could just be the beginning.
Here’s a short video of Cleveland’s 32-point game against B Maze Elite. He’s No. 35 in black.
Kansas football target Keon Coleman has entered the final week of his recruitment and plans to make his choice on Saturday.
Talk about adding a little extra boom to your Fourth of July.
The three-star wide receiver (Coleman is a four-star prospect in the 247 rankings) who has explored the idea of playing both basketball and football in college is down to a final three of KU, Oklahoma and South Carolina.
A 6-foot-4, 188-pound playmaker from Opelousas Catholic in Louisiana, Coleman is ranked as the 72nd best wide receiver in the country and 12th best player in the state in the 2021 recruiting class by Rivals.com.
While Coleman has skills as a basketball player — he averaged 20 points per game during his junior season in high school — and has talked to KU coach Bill Self about the potential to play both sports, most believe his future is in football.
Last season, as a junior, Coleman caught 35 passes for 1,200 yards and a whopping 22 touchdowns and his size, frame and ability to make plays down the field have him projected as a player with tremendous upside.
KU receivers coach Emmett Jones has been KU’s lead recruiter for Coleman and his recent track record with Kansas wideouts certainly won’t hurt his chances.
Last season, in his first year on the KU staff, Jones helped Daylon Charlot, Andrew Parchment and Stephon Robinson Jr., all turn in career years. Prior to that, Jones spent three seasons on Kliff Kingsbury’s staff at Texas Tech, where he helped the Red Raiders lead the nation in total offense and passing offense during his first season as a full-time assistant.
The Jayhawks beat out a lot of quality football schools to still be standing in the race for Coleman as his recruitment winds down. But winning a battle with OU for a quality wideout could be tough.
In fact, the Rivals.com FutureCast predictions for Coleman are unanimously in favor of the Sooners, with nine Rivals analysts giving OU the edge here.
The fans see it slightly differently, but even there OU is still the favorite, grabbing 45% of the votes compared to 20% for KU and 9% for South Carolina.
The NCAA’s Division I Council announced late Thursday that it had extended the recruiting dead period, for all sports, through Aug. 31.
The announcement, which included a note about the Council regularly reviewing the college recruiting landscape and making adjustments as necessary, came just one month after the dead period had been extended through July 31.
A dead period means no in-person recruiting activities, including college campus visits, in-home visits or live evaluations.
Prospects are allowed to reach out to coaches as much as they like, and phone calls, text messages, emails, Zoom calls and even virtual visits are all allowed.
At Kansas, both the football and men’s basketball programs are currently in the process of trying to fill up their 2021 recruiting classes.
KU hoops has received an oral commitment from Top 30 prospect Zach Clemence. And Les Miles’ football program already has a dozen or so commitments from players on both sides of the ball.
Many of those players committed to KU without taking an official visit and most said they planned to make such a visit when the pandemic passed.
With the dead period extended through the end of August and uncertainty surrounding the upcoming college sports calendar, it’s hard to project when visits of any kind might be possible.
KU cracks top 10 for PG
Kansas basketball made the cut in five-star point guard JD Davison’s most recent recruiting update this week.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Davison attends Calhoun High in Letohatchee, Ala., and is ranked No. 15 overall in the 2021 recruiting class by Rivals.com.
Ranked by Rivals as the third best point guard in the class, Davison jumped nine spots, from No. 24 to No. 15, in Rivals’ most recent recruiting rankings and also transitioned from a four-star prospect to five-star status.
Joining Kansas on Davison’s list of 10 are: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Memphis, Louisville and LSU.
The Kansas football program made the latest cut for three-star wide receiver Keon Coleman — and if he becomes a Jayhawk, he might play at Allen Fieldhouse as well as on the football field.
The 6-foot-4, 188-pound playmaker from Opelousas Catholic in Louisiana announced his final three on Twitter early Monday afternoon: KU, Oklahoma and South Carolina. Coleman dropped Florida State, Michigan State and Mississippi State from his top six.
Ranked by Rivals as the 72nd-best wide receiver in the nation and the 12th-best player in his state in the 2021 recruiting class, Coleman is worth watching for more than one reason — there have been rumors that he wants to play both football and basketball at the college level.
A little more than three weeks ago, Coleman told Jon Kirby of JayhawkSlant.com that Kansas basketball coach Bill Self had joined in on a football recruiting call to talk to Coleman about his game.
“It was a Zoom virtual visit,” Coleman told Kirby. “Then the coaches said Bill Self wanted to join and make it like a two-for-one call. I was like, ‘Whoa.’ We started talking and it went from there. "It was the first time I talked to Coach Self. He told me I do a lot of things you can’t really teach. He said I’m a fast-twitch player and said I was quick.”
Last season, as a junior, Coleman caught 35 passes for 1,200 yards and a whopping 22 touchdowns. He also averaged more than 20 points per game for the Opelousas Catholic basketball team.
According to Rivals.com basketball recruiting analyst Corey Evans, Coleman has the necessary length and size to play on the wing and could be “valued for his defensive prowess and athleticism all the way up to the high-major realm.”
Wide receivers coach Emmett Jones has been the lead recruiter for the Jayhawks on the football side, and head coach Les Miles has been heavily involved, as well. But pulling someone like Self into the mix certainly doesn't hurt KU’s chances, and Coleman told Kirby that Self’s appearance during his virtual visit showed him that Kansas was serious about letting him play both basketball and football.
Though it's rare, it's not unprecedented at Kansas for an athlete to play multiple sports. A couple of years ago, Self added KU football tight end James Sosinski to the basketball roster to help KU fill out its stable of big men during the run to the 2018 Final Four. And several years before that, Self encouraged former KU walk-on Conner Teahan to see if his quarterbacking skills would transfer to the Division I level during spring football practice under Turner Gill. Teahan, who appeared in the spring game that season, eventually threw in the towel on the idea and returned to help lead the Jayhawks to the 2012 Final Four.
Going further back, Mario Kinsey once played guard for Roy Williams and quarterback for Terry Allen, and Isaac Byrd was a standout wide receiver under Glen Mason and also a centerfielder with the KU baseball team.
It remains to be seen whether Coleman will join that list, or, if he does, whether he’ll make enough of an impact in both sports to be remembered for it. But even if he just pans out in football, a player with OU and South Carolina as his other finalists would be a big boost for Kansas.
While Monday marked a big recruiting day for prospects in the class of 2022, the Kansas basketball coaching staff continues to focus its efforts on players in the class of 2021, as well.
It remains to be seen how many players will be in KU’s 2021 signing class, but Rivals.com analyst Eric Bossi believes that Tamar Bates needs to be one of them.
Bossi recently published a list of the must-get prospects for the top 12 teams in the country heading into the 2020 offseason, and Bates was the entry for the Jayhawks at No. 6.
A 6-foot-5 shooting guard from nearby Piper High who is a four-star prospect ranked No. 85 by Rivals.com, Bates is headed to IMG Academy for his senior season.
The biggest reason Bossi believes he’s a must-get for Bill Self and the Jayhawks goes beyond the fact that he grew up so close to KU’s campus.
“Bates is a great fit for the Jayhawks,” Bossi wrote. “They’ve done really well developing highly ranked — but not too highly ranked — players like Devonte’ Graham, Frank Mason and Marcus Garrett in the past and Bates shares traits with many of them.”
Bossi said Bates reminds him most of Garrett because of his size and versatility.
“Now pushing 6-foot-5, Bates can score and play anywhere from point guard to small forward in Bill Self’s offense,” Bossi wrote.
KU currently has just one commitment in the 2021 class, from 6-10 forward Zach Clemence out of Pleasanton, Texas.
With Mitch Lightfoot and Marcus Garrett slated to exhaust their eligibility and the potential for one or two of KU’s underclassmen to decide to leave early after the 2020-21 season, KU could have room for as many as four players in the 2021 class.
There’s a long way to go before we get to that point, of course, and part of the equation will include how Bates fares against better competition at IMG.
KU is far from the only program targeting the talented guard. The Rivals.com database lists Bates with 15 offers, and Bossi identified Alabama, Colorado, Creighton, Kansas State, Iowa State, Missouri, Oklahoma and Oregon as KU’s biggest competitors for Bates’ signature.
High school juniors across the country received phone calls from the Kansas basketball coaching staff on Monday, the first day coaches were allowed to contact players in the 2022 recruiting class.
Some players received new offers. Some already had offers and were just catching up.
Here’s a quick look at a few of the players KU reached out to:
A five-star point guard ranked No. 8 overall in the 2022 class by Rivals.com, Bradley is one of the handful of prospects who picked up a new KU offer on Monday, according to Rivals’ Andrew Slater.
Bradley currently attends IMG Academy.
The Rochester, N.Y., native was the North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year in 2019-20 after averaging 23 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals per game.
The junior-to-be from Wichita, who is headed to Sunrise Christian Academy for the 2020-21 season, got a call from KU head coach Bill Self late Monday evening.
“It was just to touch base and show their interest in me because (it was) the first day that they can contact me,” Dick told Jacob Polacheck of Zagsblog.com. “It was just to build that relationship and keep building that.”
Ranked No. 32 in his class by Rivals, Dick is a 6-foot-7, 195-pound guard who can play multiple positions.
The five-star prospect from nearby Bishop Miege told Rivals’ Eric Bossi that Kansas was one of the programs that reached out to him on Monday. Mitchell, who is ranked by Rivals as the No. 13 player in his class, already had an offer from KU and has made several trips to Lawrence during the past couple of seasons.
While his services will be in high demand in the coming months, Mitchell told Bossi he was happy to let the recruiting process play out naturally.
“I just want to see who all gets in touch,” Mitchell said. “I’m just trying to feel it out and get to talk to everybody who talks to me.”
A 6-foot-4 point guard from Dallas, ranked No. 18 in the 2022 class by Rivals, Morris also heard from the KU coaching staff on Monday.
Morris’ physical tools make him a top prospect, but his summer coach Erven Davis, who leads Dallas Showtyme, told Bossi that Morris had improved more than just his basketball skills recently.
“I think the biggest thing is his maturity level has gone way up,” Davis said. “Every time he’s been in the spotlight, he’s dominated and showed up and that’s propelled to him where he is now.”
The 6-foot-7, four-star small forward from Dallas who has had a KU offer since 2018 also received a call from Self on Monday afternoon.
“It was just a check up call,” Smith told Polacheck. “He was just calling in just to let me know that he is heavily interested in me. We were just talking about everything that’s going on in the world and he asked me how I’ve developed as a player over the break. We just started talking about what’s going on at Kansas and that was about it.”
While Smith is looking for a program that’s suited to his skills, he told Polacheck that having the right relationships with the staff is key, as well.
“I want to know if a coach is going to back me up with what’s going on in the world,” he said.
Like Lawrence prospect Juju Ramirez, who picked up an offer from KU on Monday, Sunday is not yet ranked in the Rivals 150 for the class of 2022.
Despite that, the 6-10 center from the Bronx, N.Y., told Polacheck he received a call from KU on Monday.
“They just told me about the way they are able to work very well with big men and that they will start recruiting me,” Sunday said.
According to the Rivals database, Sunday currently holds offers from Illinois, Kansas State and Nebraska.
Monday marked the first day that college basketball coaches could contact high school prospects in the class of 2022 directly, and the coaching staff at Kansas did not have to look far for one of its calls.
Juju Ramirez, a junior-to-be from Bishop Seabury Academy who announced last week that he was headed to New Hampton Prep in New Hampshire next season, received a scholarship offer from KU late Monday morning.
“(KU assistant) Coach (Kurtis) Townsend called me to let me know that they’ve been interested in me for a while and that I had a full offer to KU,” Ramirez told the Journal-World.
Ramirez, whose mother, Danielle Geronymo, played volleyball at KU in 1999 and 2000, said the call came as a surprise and that he was equal parts nervous and excited while on the phone.
“I always figured if I worked hard enough I could eventually get an offer from KU,” the rising prospect said. “But I wasn’t expecting it to come this soon.”
At 6-foot-9, Ramirez can play inside and on the perimeter.
His father, Carlos Ramirez, who was a part of the first Free State team in the late 1990s, said his son’s size, versatility and potential have enticed several coaches to take a look.
In addition to KU, Juju Ramirez received calls from Denver University, Bryant University in Rhode Island and Minnesota on Monday morning alone.
“As a guy from Lawrence, this is just incredible,” Carlos Ramirez told the Journal-World. “We were surprised to hear that KU was offering, honestly. But now that they have, it feels like it’s time to buckle up. Everybody’s going to know about Juju.”
Both father and son said one of their biggest takeaways from Monday’s development was the fact that the KU offer put a target on Juju Ramirez’s back.
“It’s definitely eye-opening,” Juju Ramirez said. “It really makes it feel real now. And if this is the way it’s going to be, I better get ready.”
That shouldn’t be a problem. Juju Ramirez typically works out several times a day, spending time with strength trainers, basketball instructors and jump coaches. In the past year, the lefty has become dangerous from behind the 3-point line, and he also is focused on adding enough muscle to become a factor on the glass.
“I’m ecstatic and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen,” Carlos Ramirez said. “But we both know he still has a lot of work to do to get where he wants to go, and I promise you he’s not going to let up one bit because of this offer.”
Juju Ramirez, who was slated to play AAU ball with MOKAN this summer, was one of several juniors the KU coaching staff reached out to on Monday.
According to JayhawkSlant.com’s Shay Wildeboor, KU also reached out to top-20 prospects Jayden Bradley, a 6-3 point guard from IMG Academy; Keyonte George, a 6-5 point guard from Lewisville, Texas; Mark Mitchell, a 6-7 forward from nearby Bishop Miege; Lee Dort, a 6-10 center from Addison, Texas; Skyy Clark, a 6-2 point guard from Nashville; and Arterio Morris, a 6-4 point guard from Dallas. In addition, KU reportedly contacted top-50 prospects AJ Casey, a 6-8 forward from Chicago; Rylan Griffen, a 6-5 shooting guard from Richardson, Texas; Gradey Dick, a 6-6 guard from Sunrise Christian; Nick Smith, a 6-4 point guard from Sherwood, Ark., and Roddy Gayle Jr., a 6-4 shooting guard from Niagara Falls, N.Y.
It wasn’t exactly the kind of bump that KU junior Ochai Agbaji saw during his recruitment — from unranked into the Top 150 — but Class of 2021 Kansas commitment Zach Clemence did jump a couple of spots in the updated Rivals.com rankings.
Projected as a 4-star prospect ranked No. 31 overall in the 2021 class when he committed to Kansas last month, Clemence is now officially a Top 30 player.
Rivals ranks the 6-foot-10 forward from Pleasanton, Texas, as the No. 29 player in his class and the No. 8 overall power forward in the 2021 class.
Known as much for his guard skills and outside shot as his ability to play close to the rim and get on the class, the 6-10, 210-pound senior-to-be will play the 2020-21 season at Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire.
He’s one of a handful of players on the Sunrise roster that KU is recruiting and considers himself a “Stretch 4” with the ability to play multiple spots on both ends of the floor.
“Where the game is going, Zach’s value is high,” Sunrise coach Luke Barnwell told the Journal-World shortly after Clemence committed to KU. “He’s a really skilled 4 that can play around the basket and can really shoot it. … You look at him and he kind of looks a little goofy, but he’s just really good at a lot of things.”
According to JayhawkSlant.com's Shay Wildeboor, a few of the other top KU targets to keep an eye on in the 2021 Rivals 150 rankings include: Hunter Sallis, a 5-star point guard from Omaha, Neb., ranked No. 11; Kendall Brown, a 5-star small forward from Sunrise Christian ranked No. 12; JD Davison, a 5-star point guard from Alabama ranked No. 15; Daimion Collins, a 4-star power forward from Atlanta, Texas, ranked No. 20; Efton Reid, a 4-star center from Richmond, Va., ranked No. 24; and Franck Kepnang, a 4-star center from Westtown, Pa., ranked No. 26.