After his performance against the New England Patriots, has Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole established himself as a star in the making this season?
The numbers don’t lie. Keelan Cole was more than impressive in the Jacksonville Jaguars win over the New England Patriots. A week removed from the team’s biggest win however many years, Cole and his teammates get set to face AFC South division rivals, the Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon at TIAA Bank Field.
Cole, a second-year player out of Kentucky Wesleyan is on the verge of something big. After his highlight-reel one-handed catch and seven receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown, he has defined himself as the team’s go-to playmaker.
Back in July during training camp, Cole spoke with the media, talking about how the team was getting acclimated to the second year in this system and how the group of wide receivers are like a brotherhood. Each player pushing one another to be their best.
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Now that Marqise Lee has been lost for the season with a knee injury, it is Cole who has stepped up and delivered when the team has needed him most so far this season.
"“The ball can go to anybody and anything can happen at any time. We have so many playmakers on that side, the other side, we’re going against the greatest defense in history in my eyes. Everybody on that defense is a weapon and every time you are going against anybody, it’s a good rep,” he said."
Against the Tennessee Titans, Cole and his fellow receivers have a chance to once again make a statement against a division rival. A win would give Jacksonville its third straight victory and second in a row with the New York Jets on the schedule next week.
Cole’s presence in the Jaguars offense has also prompted fantasy football owners to take notice and see if they can pick him up on a waiver wire or somehow miraculously acquire him through a trade.
For the season, he has 10 receptions for 170 yards. Last season, he surprised everyone with 748 yards receiving to lead the team. He also hauled in 42 catches and three touchdowns. At 6-foot-1 and 194 pounds, he is part of the fastest wide receiving corps the Jaguars have had since the days of Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell.
Now, McCardell is his receivers coach and sings his praises of the player who made a splash in training camp last season. Cole has learned plenty from the former Jaguars great.
"“That is the head dog. Whatever we know, he knows. We are just learning off of that. With me, he is on me, and I like it. You can’t get better unless you are learning, and it’s from everything,” Cole said.“If I drop it, he’s on me. If I catch it, he’s on me. If I run a good route … It’s always something new, and I’m trying to learn it, so I’m just listening.”"
With the offense opening up and the possibility of another big day with the passing game from quarterback Blake Bortles, it may be another opportunity for Cole and his teammates to leave a lasting impression not only on the Titans but the rest of the NFL.