Shon Coleman, who has been a big part of Auburn's offensive line, is turning pro
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Shon Coleman, whose inspirational story of beating cancer on his way to becoming a stalwart in Auburn's offensive line, is leaving the Tigers a year early and will enter the NFL Draft.
Coleman said Wednesday he's leaving Auburn with fond memories, thanking the school "for giving me the opportunity to play and staying with me even when things were tough. They stood with me," Coleman said. "To be able to play, and help this program out, was a blessing for me. I thank them for that."
It was a very hard decision but I've decided to forego my final year and enter the NFL Draft. I'll forever be an Auburn Tiger!
— Shon Coleman (@TheRealBigShon) January 6, 2016
Coleman added he "weighed the pros and cons, and I feel like it's a great opportunity to go ahead and take that next step."
Coleman, who received his master's degree in December, has long been a feel-good story for Auburn. He was part of the 2010 signing class, but was diagnosed a short time later that he had leukemia. Auburn honored his scholarship, and when he beat the disease at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, he arrived in Auburn. He began practicing in 2012, and played from 2013-15.
"I want to thank Shon for his many contributions to Auburn and our football program since signing six years ago," said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn. "He has developed into one of the best linemen in the SEC, he is an outstanding role model, and is leaving Auburn with two degrees. Shon is a tremendous person whose courage and determination to overcome cancer is a true testament of his character. On behalf of the Auburn family, we wish Shon all the best and look forward to following his professional football career."
He played in 2013, returning to the field after a three-year absence. He started 13 games in 2014 and 13 more in 2015.
He was a nominee for the Orange Bowl-Football Writers Association of America Courage Award in 2015.
Coleman said he'll work out in Phoenix as he prepares for the draft.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine