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With the score tied at 19-19, Jonah Coleman’s future flashed before his eyes.
Four seconds were left on the clock in the Super Bowl. And, on the final play of the game, he picked the quarterback off and returned the interception to the house, giving his team the trophy.
“That’s when I just felt like I could play at the next level,” Coleman said.
Coleman was only a seventh grader then. Now he’s a household name at Stockton’s Lincoln High School.
During his freshman year, Coleman wasted no time showing his talents at the varsity level, rushing for 545 yards and nine touchdowns – both of which were team highs. Coleman added another 298 yards and three touchdowns as a receiver, including 99 yards in his high school opener.
Fast forward to his freshman campaign in 2019, and Coleman dominated every step of the way in what developed into one of the best seasons across California and the entire country.
He ran for 1,587 yards, which ranked No. 75 nationally, according to statistics available on MaxPreps. He ran for 30 touchdowns, which were tied for the 10th-most in the state. He finished with 324 yards receiving and four scores through the air, lifting Lincoln to a 9-2 overall record, a second place finish behind St. Mary’s and a trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.
Since the 2019 season concluded, Coleman has done more to boost his profile – with strong showings at showcases and bulking up his already big frame in the weight room, squatting 525 pounds and bench pressing 255 pounds.
“I’ve been working harder than I’ve ever been,” Coleman said. “I’m getting more motivated, getting ready for the season. Got to be the best year of my life.”
Coleman’s profile on the recruiting trail has only grown, too.
Arizona State, Fresno State, New Mexico, Oregon State, San Jose State and Tennessee have all offered the top 2022 prospect, who is tabbed as a three-star recruit by 247Sports, the No. 2 all-purpose back in the country – right St. John Bosco athlete Rayshon Luke – and is the No. 35 player in California for 2022.
But Coleman and Lincoln are focused in on the big prize: becoming the No. 1 team across the state by the end of what is now the 2021 spring slate.
“We’re shooting for state this year,” Coleman said. “We’re setting our standards high because I feel like we can do it.”
And Coleman is working to make sure his loved ones are taken care of.
“My family because I don’t like to see my family struggle every day,” Coleman said. “I just want to take care of them and make sure they don’t have to worry about anything.”
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