It’s always nice to be the groundbreaker.
The world needs these people. The ones who will go in a different direction when everyone else is following the pack.
These individuals usually garner the majority of the attention whether it’s good or bad. And history usually makes them the focal point of the story.
And while people like Hunter deserve their flowers, we can’t forget how integral the people who come behind the trailblazer are when it comes to validating a new movement. Without them, there is no true progress.
Enter Kevin Coleman Jr.
Coleman Jr. is the top-ranked slot receiver in the nation and the number 11 ranked recruit in the country, according to Sports Illustrated. Over the weekend, Coleman also chose to attend Jackson State and join Hunter and head coach Deion Sanders in the Tigers program.
The talented wide receiver didn’t let anyone outside of his inner circle know about his decision. Not even Sanders himself.
However, despite not knowing the decision beforehand, the SWAC champion decided to celebrate acquiring the talented Coleman Jr. by hitting the “Nae Nae” in his home.
Coleman Jr. committed to Jackson State without even visiting the campus. It’s apparent that this young man has a deeper vision and mission for his collegiate journey.
“I see everything he [head coach Deion Sanders] is doing and I want to be a part of it,” Coleman Jr. told Sports Illustrated. “Coach Prime, to be coached by a person who has done it before. Why not? He can teach me. He did it on both sides, he did it on special teams and he is a great person with great character.”
Coleman Jr. added: “It was a hard decision to make, not easy, but you’ve got to make the decision for yourself. You’ve got to believe you can make it from anywhere. I’m proud of myself.”
He should be extremely proud of himself and so should the rest of the HBCU community. We praised Hunter for taking a risk and choosing to attend an HBCU. Yet, when Coleman Jr. decides to go to JSU, people are noticeably quieter.
It’s going to take more than just one player to create generational change for HBCU athletics; it will need a plethora of high-caliber players embracing their power and advancing these universities with their talent.
The HBCU community can’t lose sight of that. Coleman Jr. and any other top-level player who decides to attend an HBCU is just as important to this movement as Hunter. They need to be given their appropriate recognition for taking a chance on their careers and uplifting these institutions in the process.