Persistence landed Coleman at ASU

As a standout redshirt freshman at Fort Scott Community College (Kan.), Davon Coleman wasn't lacking any recruiting attention. Yet, uncertainty over the timing of his graduation effectively made him off limits. When it became clear that the defensive end was on the right track academically the Sun Devils were able to beat some of the top national programs and swoop in to land Coleman's services.

The 6-3 250 Davon Coleman starred for Glenville High School in Cleveland which is one of the powerhouse programs in the state of Ohio. If not for his grades Coleman was in all likelihood headed to a program of the caliber such as Michigan or Ohio State.

Coleman visited Arizona State this past Thursday and pledged to the maroon and gold Friday during his visit. He has signed a letter of intent with the Sun Devils to become the latest member of ASU's 2011 recruiting class.

"He came to Fort Scott, matured and became even a better player," said Fort Scott head coach Jeff Sims. "We had a very deep team his first year with us – we played for the national championship so he redshirted. I know Arizona State will be very impressed with him and the fact that he has three years of eligibility is tremendous."

In his only season playing for the Greyhounds, Coleman totaled 65 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two pass breakups and an interception.

"He can play defensive end, he can play linebacker," Sims commented. "He is an incredible athlete for someone who is 250 lbs. who is also very physical and strong. He even played some tailback in high school and was a national championship wrestler in high school. He will be one of the hardest playing guys at Arizona State and he plays with a chip on his shoulder.

"You have to realize that we placed 106 guys on scholarships the last four year and we have produced some of the best junior college players in the country in the last nine years. Our linebacker Lavonte David who signed with Nebraska last year set a single-season record for tackles in his first year with 152. Our defensive end Jason Pierre Paul got drafted no. 15 by the New York Giants and Davon played better for us than Jason did.

"People should not get caught up with Davon's stats. Jason was still learning the game when he got to us and Davon came to us as a freak athlete who was just as fast as he was strong. He can jam the tight end, rush the passer, he can cover…people don't realize what a coup this was for Arizona State. Florida called me two days ago and was going to offer him but Arizona State got him to sign first."

Ohio State and Nebraska were reportedly two other programs that have been heavily pursuing Coleman and planning to bring him in for a visit.

As mentioned, the vagueness over whether Coleman could obtain his AA degree in time to join a program in the fall caused Fort Scott not to publicize the defensive end as a 2011 prospect. Sims credits the Sun Devils for not backing off Coleman like other schools have, since they were turned off by the fact that Coleman redshirted his first year at the junior college level.

"We weren't sure if he was going to play for us this year so we didn't promote him out there to schools," Sims explained. "We didn't know a few months ago if he was going to graduate and I told him that I wasn't going to promote him until I was sure that he was going to graduate this summer. Half way through the semester his grades came back and were in order and he has proven that he is taking his academics seriously.

"When Arizona State and a lot of other schools called me a couple of months ago I told all of them that Davon wasn't available. But Davon has come a long way and showed that he is serious about his academics. A few weeks ago coach (Bryce) Erickson was doing his job, asking again if Davon was available and we said he was. They started recruiting him hard and the next day Florida calls and said that they want to offer him too. Florida was going to wait until Davon came back from Arizona State and if he wasn't signed with them (ASU) he was probably going to be offered and signed by Florida."

Sims indicated that the Coleman's ceiling of potential is quite high and that in the last two years he has been making strides towards realizing his ability.

"Coleman is a top-flight player that comes from a tough environment in Cleveland," Sims explained. "Academics aren't always the highest priority in a place like that. But to his credit he has worked hard to becoming a student and a great player.

"He may take a little time to learn the system at the next level but I guarantee you that once he does learn the system he will be an impact player for Arizona State. People need to realize that he just a sophomore and he will be as good as most sophomores are. Like any young player, the more experience he gets the better he will be."

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