The one perk about going undrafted is that you have a choice.
Syracuse defensive end Kendall Coleman became a member of the Indianapolis Colts’ undrafted free agent class.
What makes this even more special is that Coleman will be playing in his hometown.
#ColtsNation… I’m coming home!!!😁
— KC (@KendallColeman_) April 26, 2020
Fore Coleman, it was an easy decision.
A Dream Come True
According to Stephen Bailey of Syracuse.com, two text messages showed up on Coleman’s cell phone immediately after the final pick of the 2020 draft was announced.
On his phone, he had a text from his agent and one from a scout from the Indianapolis Colts.
After going three days without hearing his name in the draft, Coleman’s next-best outcome materialized.
He was going to be signed by his hometown Colts.
Coleman told Bailey that he was beyond excited.
“Everybody’s reaction was just being ecstatic,” Coleman said. “Just being overly happy about the fact that, at the end of the day, every kid dreams about hearing their name called, but I still put myself in a position to chase my dreams.”
Working With Mathis
In addition to staying in his hometown, he will continue to receive positional training with former five-time Pro Bowler Robert Mathis.
While attending Colts games as a little kid, Coleman grew up idolizing Mathis.
When Coleman’s mother, Nikki, chatted with her dentist about Coleman’s football career, a brand new connection was made.
It’s incredible to watch pro (and future pro) athletes train. Just incredible. Here, former Cathedral/Syracuse standout Kendall Coleman trains alongside former @Colts pass-rush specialist Robert Mathis. https://t.co/n6yPtQOhlk pic.twitter.com/3WUJ8RYW8n
— Mykal McEldowney (@mykalmphoto) February 23, 2020
The dentist’s neighbor was Mathis and he offered to make the connection.
In return, Mathis watched Coleman’s film and reached out.
Since then, he provided mentorship for Coleman as he turned into one of the ACC’s better edge defenders.
His 10-sack junior season, including a three-sack showing against West Virginia in the Camping World Bowl, put Coleman on the map.
“It’s been a dream come true,” Coleman said. “He sees something in me and I’m forever grateful for that — because he wants to see my success as much as I do.”
When Kendall Coleman was in 2nd or 3rd grade, he went a Robert Mathis camp. Still has the jersey.
Now, the Cathedral product is training with the Colts legend again, this time for the Combine and an NFL future.
“I think he’s the steal of the draft.” https://t.co/J5DPPdQg0Z
— Joel A. Erickson (@JoelAErickson) February 23, 2020
Having A Friend
The other easy part that influenced his decision was having the chance to be with his former teammate.
A third-year pro, Zaire Franklin, was Coleman’s mentor when the two were teammates at Syracuse.
The two have reportedly already started working out together.
Their relationship dates back to four years ago when Coleman was a true freshman in 2016 and quickly looked to Coleman for guidance.
“He didn’t talk to me like I was another freshman on the team,” Coleman said. “He had that confidence in me that I didn’t have at the time. That’s something that really helped a lot at Syracuse.”
With the support system in place, it was certainly an easy choice to call the Colts home.