WR Dane Key (6-2 170) of Lexington, KY no doubt will get a lot of pressure to stay home and play his college football at Kentucky. First, he’s one of the top players in the state, rated a four-star prospect in the 247Sports Composite and ranked #31 nationally among receivers and #2 overall among Kentucky prospects. And second, his dad, who is the linebackers coach at his school. played for Kentucky in the early 90s.
But that hasn’t stopped USC and others from trying to convince him the grass may not be bluer outside of Kentucky, but perhaps greener. He has a top ten of USC, Kentucky, Virginia, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Oregon, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Virginia Tech and Purdue.
“It’s not about where my dad played or where I live, it’s about where I feel best at, not about where my dad play,” Key said. “This process is about me. My family will be involved in the decision but they want what’s best for me.”
His contact with USC started thru the Gamecocks new defensive coordinator Clayton White who coached at Western Kentucky before moving to Columbia.
“My brother played for Western Kentucky and coach (Clayton) White, when he got there (USC), I was one of the first kids he contacted,” Key said. “Once he got there, he said he wanted me to come play for him. He got with coach (Justin) Stepp and they really liked my game and how I played. They really wanted me to come play for the Gamecocks.”
Stepp, the Gamecocks’ wide receivers coach, is now handling Key’s recruitment.
“Me and coach Stepp, we have a great relationship going on,” Key said. “He doesn’t just contact me. He’s actually contacting my mom, my dad, my whole family, just reaching out to them. The recruiting is going good. He says he wants me, but not only does he want me, he needs me to come play for him. He tells me I’d play not just outside receiver but a receiver that would play every position.”
Key has never been to USC but he plans to set an official visit with the Gamecocks. He has done a long Zoom with the staff, and he said Stepp does a FaceTime meeting with him weekly.
“The Zoom was three days after they offered me,” Key said. “It was an amazing feeling to get on there with the whole staff. The whole staff told me how much they liked me and needed me and how much they all wanted to be my coach when I play at the collegiate level.”
Key also has gotten some insight about playing in Williams-Brice Stadium from his dad who got the chance to play there just after the Gamecocks joined the SEC in 1992.
“He’s told me a lot of stories about that stadium,” Key said. “He said it was one of the loudest stadiums he’s ever played in. He was telling me about the crowd and the fanbase, and right when he walked on the field they were screaming out him. He said the stadium is right behind the field, so you hear it all game.”
Key also is a high level baseball player who could be drafted, but he said his heart is in football and playing in the NFL. However, he is focused on his baseball season right now and won’t really turn his attention to football recruiting and setting up visits until that’s over. He plans to make his decision at the end of his football season. He will sign in December but will not graduate early.
Last season Key had 30 catches for 478 yards and 10 touchdowns.
- DE Cyrus Moss of Las Vegas has Clemson in his top five along with Oregon, Florida, Notre Dame and Arizona State.
- USC offered 2023 DB Chris Peal (6-2 162) of Charlotte. This spring season he’s had 30 tackles and 1 interception according to MaxPreps. He also plays running back.
- 6-10 Noah Clowney of Dorman was offered by Clemson, Georgia Tech, Providence and Appalachian State.
- Former Clemson guard Clyde Trapp is transferring to Charlotte.
- Former Furman star 6-8 Noah Gurley is transferring to Alabama.