July 12, 2024

2024 NFL Draft: Florida State WR Keon Coleman declares as expected first-round pick, opts out of Orange Bowl

Florida State standout Keon Coleman has announced his intention to enter the 2024 NFL Draft, opting to forgo the upcoming Orange Bowl clash against Georgia, as reported by 247Sports. Coleman, who transferred from Michigan State, made a significant impact in his lone season with the No. 5 Seminoles, leading the ACC with 11 touchdown receptions.

During his debut with FSU, Coleman quickly became a preferred target for quarterback Jordan Travis. In the season opener against LSU, he showcased his skills with a standout performance, registering nine catches for 122 yards and three touchdowns. Throughout the season, he continued to impress with two more multi-touchdown games and surpassed the 120-yard receiving mark in two contests. In total, Coleman concluded his sole season with the Noles with 50 receptions for 658 yards. Additionally, he excelled as the team’s punt returner, accumulating 300 yards from 25 kicks.

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Standing at 6 feet 4 inches, Coleman’s immediate success was anticipated, given his high ranking by 247Sports as a top-20 overall transfer and the fourth-ranked wide receiver in the 2023 cycle. The Opelousas, Louisiana native, and former four-star prospect had an impressive track record at Michigan State, amassing 65 catches for 848 yards and eight touchdowns, with the majority of his production occurring during his sophomore year.

Coleman’s draft stock

Coleman emerges as a standout prospect in the upcoming April draft, irrespective of his position. According to the 2024 CBS Sports NFL Draft Prospect Rankings, he holds the 15th spot overall and is ranked as the third-best wide receiver. This places him behind Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. and LSU’s Malik Nabers, both Biletnikoff Award finalists, with Harrison Jr. securing the award. In the most recent mock draft by Chris Trapasso, Coleman is predicted to be chosen by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 19th overall pick. Trapasso suggests that Coleman could serve as an ideal replacement in case Mike Evans departs in free agency.

Noteworthy is Coleman’s physical prowess, characterized by his length and build, enabling him to contend effectively with NFL cornerbacks. Although not exceptionally fast, he excels as a contested-catch specialist, showcasing impressive leaping ability and a substantial wingspan that facilitates securing passes out of the air. Even if he doesn’t immediately secure a spot in the wide receiver rotation, Coleman has the potential to make an immediate impact as a valuable contributor on special teams, particularly as a returner.

What it means for Florida State

Coleman’s decision to enter the NFL Draft creates a void for Florida State, necessitating the replacement of its top three receivers for the upcoming 2024 season. Joining wideout Johnny Wilson and tight end Jaheim Bell in the draft, these three players were responsible for just under 53% of the team’s total passing yards and contributed 15 of the 25 touchdowns through the air. Looking ahead, Ja’khi Douglas, operating from the slot, emerges as the top returning wide receiver with 12 catches for 230 yards in the 2023 season. Notably, there is no other wideout on the roster with at least 10 catches from the previous year.

Despite the significant gap left by the departing players, Florida State possesses promising young talents to potentially step into key roles. The addition of five-star recruit Hykeem Williams, ranked as the No. 4 wide receiver in the 2023 class, and the return of Destyn Hill, who took a year off in 2021 due to personal family matters, as a true freshman, offer potential solutions. While neither had a substantial impact in their previous appearances, their impressive recruiting pedigrees raise expectations for their contributions.

Furthermore, the Seminoles secured the commitments of four-star wide receivers Lawayne McCoy and Elijah Moore during the early signing period of 2024. With ample playing time available, these new additions will have opportunities to make significant contributions. Florida State also has the option to explore the transfer portal to bolster its receiving corps, a strategy successfully employed in the past two years with the acquisitions of Coleman and Wilson.

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