March 29 was a massive day in the life of new Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole.
He graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College on Saturday morning. It was a life-changing moment for the 24-year-old.
Still, it probably paled in comparison to what would happen that evening.
Cole received a phone call from the Jaguars, who wanted to sign him as an undrafted free agent.
"I had some family members over and a lot of them live about an hour and a half away so some of them left before it got dark," Cole said in a phone conversation with First Coast News.
"But my dad and my little siblings stayed and we were just waiting around for the call and once I got it, I walked into the other room so I could hear, my agent told me that I was signing with the Jaguars."
He received calls from the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins and a few other franchises. When it came time to make a decision, Cole and his agent decided the Jaguars were the best fit.
The Jaguars currently have Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee, Bryan Walters and Arrelious Benn on the roster. The team spent a fourth-round pick on Dede Westbrook this past weekend.
Cole is an underdog, he knows that, but fighting the odds is nothing new for him.
He walked onto the Kentucky Wesleyan's football team and worked his way up the roster. He even had to switch positions.
Cole grew around five inches from high school to college. He had played defensive back his entire life, but his growth spurt allowed for him to spread his wings at wide receiver.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound receiver went on to produce 4,582 receiving yards and 59 receiving touchdowns during his four-year college career.
“It helps me a lot because as a [former defensive back], you’re always taught to know what the receiver is doing, so if I know exactly what the DB is looking for, then I can always think the opposite of what’s looking for,” Cole said.
Cole's college production drew the attention of Jaguars scout Antonio Robinson, who was credited with finding fifth-round pick, Ohio linebacker Blair Brown.
The two spoke for an hour and a half during Robinson's visit to Kentucky Wesleyan. Cole said the two got along well and that it was the longest interview he had with an NFL scout.
Cole's NFL prospects were looking up, but they could have been better. He had an opportunity to move up to Division I, but he decided against it. He was more concerned with his education.
"I got myself into college so I knew all of the paperwork I had to go through and it was a lot," Cole said.
"I just decided that everything happens for a reason, I came here for a reason and it’s possible to make it out. I know I would have had better coaching, maybe at the D-1 level, but it was too much extra stuff that I really didn’t have to go through. It [would have been] real selfish of me to leave a small school just because I had the opportunity to."
Cole graduated with a degree in Fitness and Sports Management. Prior to the draft, he worked at a nearby YCMA as a counselor and continued to train at Kentucky Wesleyan.
He enjoyed working with the after-school program at the YMCA. Now instead of working for a camp, he will be visiting children in hospitals and schools in a Jaguars jersey.
“The kids love it,” Cole said. “It doesn’t really matter where you are or what you do, the entire level up, they just like seeing athletes come around and have fun, throw the ball with them and stuff like that. The smile on the kids’ faces when you come around and they look at you like role models.”
Cole has role models of his own. One is in the Jaguars' locker room.
He said his style of play is similar to Allen Robinson's. He is looking forward to learning from the Pro Bowl wide receiver.
Cole said he appreciates Robinson's eagerness to work on his craft, rather than simply relying on his physical gifts.
Entering a stacked wide receiver group, Cole hopes to soak up all the information he can. Once he learns the ways of the NFL, he hopes to make an impact on the field for the Jaguars.
“I hope that I could just come in, talk to them, learns as quick as they did and hopefully earn a spot behind them, learn from them," Cole said. "I’m not really too anxious to take a spot from like Allen Robinson or Allen Hurns. If I’m not ready, I can just learn from them and hopefully be as great as they [were] their two rookie years and help the Jags win some games.”
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.