AUBURN, Ala. – Shon Coleman will get his chance to fulfill a complete football career at Auburn.
A 6-foot-6, 302-pound offensive lineman from Memphis, Coleman was granted a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA Friday. He essentially receives two medical hardship waiver years for battling leukemia during the 2011 and 2012 football seasons.
“This is great news for Shon, who has been through a lot medically during the last few years,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said. “He has been courageous in his fight and we look forward to him returning to the football field. We’re also very appreciative of the NCAA staff for their understanding of his situation and granting him his sixth year.”
Coleman, 21, was diagnosed in the spring of 2010 with leukemia and underwent treatment at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, and while he was cleared by doctors for limited practice at the end of spring drills, he did not see the field last season.
Coleman was listed on the season’s final depth chart as the backup to tackles Greg Robinson and Patrick Miller.
He was a four-star recruit in the class of 2010, named a first-team all-state honoree by the Mississippi Association of Coaches his senior year at Olive Branch High School. Coleman participated in the 2009 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game and 2010 Army All-American Bowl.
Landing on their feet
More than half the 2012 Auburn assistants have taken jobs at other Division I colleges, which is good news for the university as its final payouts continue to subsidize.
Earlier this offseason, linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen and secondary coach Willie Martinez landed at Tennessee, while offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler grabbed the same position at Virginia Tech and special teams/tight ends coach Jay Boulware was hired at Wisconsin.
Within the past week, Loeffler brought former Auburn offensive line coach Jeff Grimes with him to Blacksburg, as dictated by the Hokies’ official web site.
Local newspaper reports have ex-Auburn running backs coach Curtis Luper heading to TCU – where his son, Cameron Echols-Luper, recently switched his verbal commitment out of Auburn High School – and defensive line coach Mike Pelton stopping off at Georgia Tech under Ted Roof, Auburn’s 2011 defensive coordinator.
Those six assistants had a combined 2012 salary of more than $2.1 million. Per their Auburn contracts, whatever salaries they earn from their new institutions will be docked from their buyouts.
The remaining unemployed members of Auburn’s fired staff: head coach Gene Chizik, defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and wide receivers/assistant head coach Trooper Taylor.
Three Tigers play Saturday
Tailback Onterio McCalebb, left guard John Sullen and linebacker Daren Bates started a combined 30 games their seniors seasons at Auburn.
None are projected to be selected highly – if at all – in this upcoming April’s NFL Draft, but they get a chance to impress some scouts today at the inaugural Raycom College Football All-Star Classic at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl. The game begins at 3 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.
McCalebb, Sullen and Bates will suit up for the ‘Stars’ squad, coached by former NFL head coach Jim Bates. They’ll take on the Stripes, led by Dan Reeves.