Earlier this month, Chris Keys travelled 10 hours from Collins to Bloomington, Indiana to showcase his speed and skills at the 2019 Hoosier Mega Camp on the campus of Indiana University. Upon running a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash and performing well in individual drills, the rising senior cornerback sat in fourth-year Hoosier head coach Tom Allen’s office.
Keys didn’t walk out with a scholarship offer, but he did leave Bloomington with one. A day later, Allen offered Keys the opportunity to become a Hoosier.
“I just had to come up and show what I could really do,” said Keys.
Collins head coach Eric Booth saw those abilities on a weekly basis last season. The Tigers utilized Keys’ expertise in man-to-man coverage, matching him against teams’ No. 1 wide receivers every Friday night.
“He [Keys] is just a man-to-man guy,” said Booth. “He’s gonna get in your face and play right beside you all night long. There’s not too many people that are gonna beat him deep because he’s got good speed. I can lock him up one-on-one, and I don’t have to worry about nothing else.”
Keys finished the season with two interceptions for the Tigers, who reached the third round of the Class 2A playoffs.
Shortly after their season came to an end, Indiana cornerbacks coach Brandon Shelby reached out and began recruiting the 6-foot, 170 pound Keys. Since then Shelby and company have made two separate trips to Collins to visit with him.
“That’s how I knew they really wanted me,” said Keys.
Keys called his decision to commit to Indiana three weeks ago ‘easy’.
“They got great connections, and they really care about all their players,” said Keys. “They go by this thing called ‘Love Each Other’. It’s a really big thing. They’re bringing in guys that love each other who really care for their teammates and want to see them do good.”
That said, Keys plans to continue taking visits to other schools. Aside from Indiana, he holds scholarship offers from Jackson State, Jones College, East Mississippi and Northwest. He’s confident more are on the way too.
“I got a lot of big stuff coming up. I’m not gonna spoil it though.”
In the meantime, Keys is focused on one last go-round with the Tigers. For the second year in a row, he’ll start on both sides of the ball at cornerback and wide receiver. He’s aiming for five interceptions and 15 touchdowns at the respective positions, but more than anything, he wants to be a leader.
“The senior class we had last year, they were cold and a really big part of our team,” said Keys. “We were looking up to them, and now players are looking up to us. We gotta do better for them and set a better example for them.”
Collins will open the 2019 season on Aug. 23 at Seminary.