Undrafted rookie WR Keelan Cole emerges as playmaker during Day 2 of Jaguars camp
HT/WT: 6-1, 194 pounds
College: Kentucky Wesleyan
Honors: Named to the Division II football.com All-American first team and Associated Press Little American first team in 2016.
One of the best offensive performers on the field during the Jaguars’ second day of training camp wasn’t Leonard Fournette, Allen Robinson or Blake Bortles.
It was Keelan Cole, an undrafted rookie wide receiver out of Kentucky Wesleyan, who showed the most big-play ability on Friday.
Regardless how tight the defensive coverage was on him, he still was able to make several highlight-caliber catches.
On a play during 11-on-11 drills with backup Chad Henne at quarterback, Cole raced down the right sideline on a go route and as the ball sailed over his shoulder, he was able to run under it before pulling it in with his right hand while rookie cornerback Jalen Myrick grabbed at his left arm.
Cole, 6-foot-1, 194 pounds, made another spectacular catch on a crossing route, snagging the ball in with his fingertips. And he made a sensational leaping catch of a Brandon Allen pass and then held onto the ball after landing hard.
“When you’re a rookie you get limited reps, you want to make sure you make the biggest play every time,’’ Cole said. “It’s only been two days and I’ve got a lot more to prove.’’
It was the second consecutive day that several of the Jaguars’ receivers had strong performances with quarterbacks Bortles, Henne and Allen making a high percentage of accurate throws in drills and 11-on-11 work.
Wide receiver Allen Hurns also shined, making several difficult catches with defensive backs draped over him.
But Robinson took notice of Cole and the way he has performed since taking part in the offseason program in May.
“Yeah, I thought he had a good OTA (period),’’ Robinson said. “He’s having a pretty good camp. He’s one of those guys that wants to learn and get better each and every day.’’
Despite his impressive catches, it could still be difficult for Cole to make the 53-man roster. One of the Jaguars’ strongest positions is at wide receiver with Marqise Lee, Rashad Greene Sr., Dede Westbrook, Arrilious Benn Hurns and Robinson.
Both head coach Doug Marrone and receivers coach Keenan McCardell will get a more thorough evaluation of the receivers and other positions starting when they practice in pads for the first time on Saturday night.
“I’ve been watching Hurns, Robinson, Arrilious,’’ Cole said. “I’m watching everybody from the starter to the bench. Whatever they got that I don’t have I can use that to better myself. You never what can happen. This isn’t a game about getting yards, it’s about getting touchdowns.”
Cole is trying to fulfill his NFL dream after emerging as a walk-on at Kentucky Wesleyan, a Division II school. After playing cornerback in high school, Cole had 4,582 receiving yards and made 59 touchdown catches during four seasons at Kentucky Wesleyan.
“I didn’t get any offers out of high school and I just worked my up,’’ Cole said. I didn’t start playing receiver until college. But everything that I learned that was good, I just took it in. Honestly, I didn’t have a habit so I was getting coached by the right coaches and everybody was helping me at the right time.’’