SEC school options-a-plenty for elite defensive end Arden Key


Welcome to Saturday Down South’s “D-line Week”, where we talk with some of the top realistic defensive line targets out there for SEC schools. We’ve interviewed some of the biggest names in the country, and we’ll rank them at the end of the week. See who your school has a chance of luring to campus.

Arden Key is perplexed. That’s because ahead of him is a win-win-win-win-win-win situation. It’s nice to have options, he says … especially in the SEC.

Key was formerly committed to South Carolina, where the Gamecocks have proven they can both attract talent on the defensive line and also coach it into NFL-level ability. He’s now being courted heavily by his home-state school–Georgia. And of course Florida is nearby, as are Alabama and Auburn. And Florida State won a national title. All of these schools want him on their roster, that’s why he’s rated the No. 117 overall prospect in America and the No. 9 weakside defensive end. He’s 6-foot-5, 215 pounds and can scoot.

“Sometimes it gets kind of rough,” Key told Saturday Down South. “Right now there’s a lot of schools hitting me up on Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes I take a few days off so I’m not focusing just on that. Instead, I just focus on my weight training.”

Probably the most talked about school, when it comes to Key’s recruitment, are the in-state Bulldogs. They’re thought to be the biggest reason he pulled back on his super-early commitment to South Carolina. Key doesn’t exactly confirm that, but he doesn’t deny it either.

“Georgia has been for real with me since day one,” Key told SDS. “They say I’m their guy, and they’re recruiting me hard. Every chance they get, they want me to call them and they really want my parents to talk to them. Georgia really wants me, my dad is a Georgia fan and I grew up watching them. It’s an honor to have all of the schools coming after me, and now I’ve got an opportunity to go to all of these schools. And I could go to a school I grew up watching.”

Related: Georgia is on the country’s top overall prospect

One thing Key is most proud of is how he’s already adding to his frame. He has the height, that’s not an issue, but it wasn’t that long ago that he barely crested over 200 pounds. So there’s room to add to, and he’s already doing it. He’s not just waiting for college. He proudly stated that he’d put on 15 pounds of muscle in recent months, and asked for that fact to be made public. The fact he’s getting stronger compliments his athleticism.

“I’m a speed rusher; I’m tall and I can get after the quarterback,” Key told SDS. “I’m a good player, and they can make me into a better player in college if they keep putting good weight on me. Most schools say I will get the opportunity to come in and start as a freshman. Basically all the schools say they like the same things about me.”

Editor’s note: Saturday Down South’s references to ratings follow the composite rankings for high school prospects.

Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

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