Press Room Headlines
Radnor "rookie" receiver shows potential as colleges catch on - Philadelphia Daily News
October 22, 2008
By Joe Santoliquito
JOHN COLEMAN lives in the Bronx, N.Y., during the summer, a little different atmosphere from Radnor, where he spends the school year. The senior was accepted 4 years ago to "A Better Chance," a program that gives city children with strong academics an opportunity to attend elite-academic suburban schools. It gave Coleman a new direction in life. He never knew his father, and his mother was incarcerated for a time in his youth.
Coleman bounced from one cramped apartment to another, living a nomad's life. He thought that lifestyle was normal, before his maternal grandparents interceded and took Coleman in, also introducing him to sports.
Now the athletic 6-4, 210-pound receiver looks to use football as a tool to take the next step to college. It's hard to fathom that Coleman never played football until this season.
Before this season, Radnor coach Tom Ryan used to approach Coleman each week in school about playing football. Coleman, a 2-year starter on Radnor's basketball team, finally relented. So far, he loves his decision. He's still learning the game, but his athleticism (a 35-inch vertical leap, and 4.55-second speed in the 40) could make him a nice catch for any college program.
A number of schools have inquired about him, including West Chester, Villanova, Temple, Delaware, Maine and Lehigh.
"I can see myself playing college football, and I think I have a better chance of going further with football than I do with basketball," said Coleman, who lives in the ABC House in Wayne with eight other student residents and an adult moderator. "I didn't even know how to put the equipment on when I first started. The other guys joked with me about it, because I used to put my knee pads in my thigh pad pockets. I had a bubble helmet, because I didn't how a helmet was supposed to fit."
Coleman, who carries a 3.2 GPA and 1,000 SAT score, seems as if he has been a nice fit in the short time he's played for Radnor. He's among the Delaware County leaders in receptions, with 19 catches and three touchdowns.
"John's a definite diamond-in-the-rough, but any college that gets this kid will be really happy 2 years from now," Ryan said. "He needs another year or 2 of individual work, but the kid has gotten better every day. Not every week, every day. He's going to be close to 6-5, around 220 pounds when he gets older. Once he figures it out and learns the game, watch out."
Vanci Coleman, John's mother, has been clean for 5 years and has gotten her life together. She still lives in the Bronx and works for an organization called the Women's Prison Association, helping former inmates adjust to life outside of prison. John talks to his mother and grandfather, Vaughn Coleman.
Yet they've never seen him play football. The Red Raiders have four games left this season, so they still have time - but if John has any say, there also will be plenty of time in the future when he's playing college football.
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