#STRecruiting: Running back just offered by #Gamecocks plans to see them for the first time Saturday

Khalifa Keith

RB Khalifa Keith (6-0 223) of Birmingham committed to Kentucky on July 4th, a few weeks after taking an official visit to Lexington. He also saw Georgia Tech and Florida State in the summer. This season he’s taken in games at Tennessee, Florida and Auburn. He will add USC to that list Saturday when he and three teammates come in for the Texas A&M.

Keith was offered by USC running backs coach Montario Hardesty on Tuesday. The first connection, however, between Keith and the Gamecocks was made with area recruiter Jody Wright who checked in on Keith during the open date last week.

“He liked my body type and he liked me as a person,” Keith said.  “He was like hey, I’m going to get back to the table and talk it out with them and we’re going to get this thing rolling.  From there they offered me.  I’m not familiar with the Gamecocks because I’ve never followed them, but I’m supposed to be going up there this weekend, so hopefully I’ll have a good time.  I’m going to enjoy it.”

Hardesty got on the phone with Keith to make the offer and the two immediately struck up a conversation. Hardesty compared Keith to current Gamecock running back Marshawn Lloyd.

“We talked a good bit,” Keith said.  “He just wanted to check on me as a person.  It was a real good talk.  They like that I’m a downhill back, kind of a bruiser.  I can make a person miss.  I’m a physical back, and that’s the type of back they say they need.”

The offer puts the Gamecocks into the mix with Keith who is going to continue evaluating his different options despite the commitment to Kentucky.

“I’m enjoying the recruitment process, and I’m interested,” he said.  “Like I said, I know nothing about South Carolina, so I’m interested about this weekend and just going up and being friends and having a good time. Me and Kentucky have been locked in, but I feel really good about it.  I’m going to enjoy my recruitment process.  I’m still committed, but you only get to do the recruitment process once, so I still want to enjoy the process.”

Keith was at Tennessee last weekend for the Alabama game and said he will take an official visit with the Vols. The date has not been set.

He said his three teammates planning to join him on the trip to Columbia are 2024 DT Jeremiah Beaman (6-4 265) who has offers from USC and Clemson, 2025 ATH Naeem Offord (6-2 170) and 2025 DT Jourdin Crawford (6-1 280) who includes Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan and Miami among his early offers.

Last season Keith rushed for 1885 yards and 35 touchdowns. This season, despite dealing with an ankle injury, he said he’s rushed for around 800 yards and 11 touchdowns.

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