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Coleman runs to Alabama State
Salem had three football players sign with colleges on Wednesday. Bottom row, left to right, are Terrance Duke, Brandon Cullen and Jahaad Coleman. Top row are Salem Athletic Director Maurice Gibson, and coach John Starr. - photo by Submitted Photo

Salem football coach John Starr is excited for his star running back, but nonetheless wishes the two could have spent more time together.

After all, Jahaad Coleman played just seven games in a senior season that was plagued by injury. Not only that but his final season of high school football was one that came a year sooner than most high school players.

Coleman, due to having a November birthday, began his scholarly career slightly earlier, and was just 16-years old throughout his final prep football season.

Despite that, the Salem Seminoles running back finished with 923 yards and 11 touchdowns during the 2011 season, and starred on special teams, returning kicks for an average of 26 yards, and running one back for a touchdown, earning him a scholarship offer to a Division I program.

On Wednesday, Coleman accepted that offer signing to play football with Alabama State of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

"It's hard to describe him," Starr said. "I don't think we got to see his best football. He was injured most of his senior year, and we didn't see his best football yet."
Starr feels Coleman will have a chance to show his best football while with the Hornets.

Alabama State ran for 1,182 yards as a team in a spread-formation offense that also featured 2,460 yards passing.
Coleman will be looked at to eventually provide a bulk of those rushing yards as a feature tailback.

"They run the same offense as Oregon and they see Jahaad as that one back big enough to do what they need to inside and fast enough to get outside," Starr said. "I think (of the schools) that looked at him, that is the best fit for him."

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Coleman will be looking to add to that frame, in order to add the talents that led to a 2,000-yard high school career to Alabama State.

"I think in the next two or three years he's really going to become something special," Starr said. "We expect really big things out of him."

Coleman starred on National Signing Day at Salem along with teammates Terrance Duke and Brandon Cullen.

Duke will be taking his talents to Reinhardt College. Duke is in a situation similar to Coleman where he played some of his senior year at 16-years old.

Heading to Reinhardt will give him time to develop as the school is just beginning its football program.

"He's still growing," Starr said. "I think over the next couple of years we're going to see a special athlete. It's a brand new program, and I think that's going to help him."

Cullen will also be staying in Georgia, playing at LaGrange.

He's the second Salem player under Starr to go to LaGrange, after John Lewis did so the previous year.

"John Lewis was there and really liked it," Starr said. "I think that helped Brandon."