The rare form of cancer that kept Auburn's Shon Coleman off the football field for the past three seasons couldn't keep him off the team. And as of Saturday, it couldn't keep him off the field, either.
The Tigers' survivor of acute lymphoblastic leukemia took the field among the reserves late in Auburn's 38-9 win over Arkansas State over the weekend.
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"That's a neat story when you go through something like that and overcome it," said offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. "At that point, for the kid it's just a realization of 'Wow, I made it back to this point.'"
Coleman's first game action has been long anticipated on the Plains. Defensive end LaDarius Owens noted there "is a different glow about him," after Coleman made his collegiate debut.
Coleman took a redshirt last season while reacclimating himself to the game. At 6-foot-6, 294 pounds, he has the athleticism and size to excel, but the competition ahead of him on the depth chart at left tackle -- Greg Robinson -- is one of the SEC's most promising tackles himself. Coleman's potential shouldn't be overlooked, though. He was a five-star recruit out of Olive Branch, Miss., in 2010, and had scholarship offers from top schools all over the Southeast.
"Now that's out of the way, and he can focus on becoming a great football player because I think he can be," Lashlee added.