Christopher Keys: "I will give Indiana my all as soon as I get there"
Over the summer, Collins traveled up to camp with Hoosiers. The long, rangy athlete impressed the Indiana staff enough to earn an offer, and a couple of days later, Collins was on the IU commitment list.
The talented senior grew up playing baseball and football. The game on the gridiron came easy to him, but he really did not love football until he was heading into high school. Even then, he did not expect it to help him earn a free education — especially to a school in Bloomington.
"I started playing football around eight years old," said Keys. "I liked football because I scored a lot of touchdowns and things like that, but I did not really love the game at first.
"I liked it a little more around eighth grade, but I really started loving it in high school. I did not play too much in ninth grade, but in tenth grade, I started, I played a lot and I just looked at the game differently.
"I grew up playing more wide receiver, but I moved over to cornerback in high school and the game changed for me. I worked hard to learn the position, I covered well and I started to think about college.
"I was working hard, and I started getting interest from schools last year, but I did not plan to end up at Indiana. I have not even been out of the state of Mississippi much, so to go up there, it was kind of surprising.
"I love the game of football now, I really like Indiana a lot and things have gone great for me."
Tom Allen and the Hooiser staff started showing interest in Keys shortly after the 2018 season. His film caught their eye and they quickly had coaches on the ground at Collins High School.
Their interest continued through the spring evaluation period and the Indiana staff convinced Keys to travel up to Indiana, take part in their camp and to give them a look.
A lot happened in the short time he was outside Mississippi.
"From day one, I felt the love from Indiana. When I was up there, even though I did the camp, football was not the main thing they were about. It was about family, it was about school and it was about much more than football to the people at Indiana. I really liked that.
"My parents liked it. I loved it. It was really an easy decision.
"After I had the offer, we talked about it on the way home and I then made the decision. I knew when I was up there on the visit that Indiana was where I wanted to go."
Since that commitment, Keys has bonded with the Hoosier staff, especially cornerbacks coach Brandon Shelby.
"I am very close to coach Shelby, but all the coaches are in contact with me." said Keys.
"With coach Shelby, we talk about every other day. We have a really good connection and we talk a lot. We talk about the team, he helps me with advice, he checks up on me and I can text him and head coach Allen any time. I have gotten very close and very comfortable with the Indiana coaches."
Keys made it clear that he is locked in with the Hoosiers, calling his commitment "100%" as he prepares for his official visit in December.
He plans to run track at Collins in 2020, then report up to IU to begin his career as a Hoosier. Keys can't wait.
"I am excited about getting back up there. I do not really have any questions. I plan to sign with Indiana in December, so I am excited about my official visit and to se everyone again.
"I will get up there next spring and my mindset is to make an immediate impact. I will give Indiana my all as soon as I get there.
"I have to admit it was a little strange to love Indiana the way I did right away. I had not been up north like that, so I did not expect to like it as much as I did up there. The people made it easy though. I liked it a lot and I feel very good about my decision."