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Highly regarded LB Kaveion Keys commits to UNC Tar Heels

Kaveion Keys
Kaveion Keys

The last few weeks have been a wild ride for Richmond (Va.) Varina star linebacker Kaveion Keys. After setting a decision date for August 27th, Texas A&M and Auburn came calling. The scholarship offers from the SEC schools have intrigued Keys and he is going to take official visits to both schools but that didn't stop him from announcing his commitment a couple days later than originally scheduled.

Keys announced his commitment to North Carolina on Monday afternoon, choosing the Tar Heels over Penn State. He went in-depth on his decision with below.


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"They know what I can do on the field," Keys said. "Coach Brown, coach Chizik, coach Thig and the other coaches have a good relationship with me and there is a lot off the field there that I liked. I want to do broadcasting in the future and coach Mack Brown and coach Chizik have been on ESPN and done that already so they have a few connections with that.

"There is a family vibe at UNC," he said. "There are a lot of Virginia people down there, especially George Pettaway and Andre Greene. We have a good relationship and talk almost everyday building a connection. It kind of felt unreal to be in a category with them because they've done so much for the state of Virginia It really feels good knowing that I can play with them and be a part of the team with them. They'll be there when I get there and they can get be better on the field and off the field by leading by example.

"They didn't have a great season last year but they're building something this year and the talent and coaching there is unbelievable," said Keys. "I've been there three times and it's been special every time. It's a good feeling there, it feels like home, and it's not too far away.

"I'm going to be watching how the coaches coach during the season," he said. "I want to see how coach Thig and coach Chizik bring the energy for them every single day and coach up the guys. I know there will be some bad days but it's all about how you get up. If you go in there and do your job and be focused on your craft and your team, you should be all right. I feel like those coaches are setting up the players to win and get to the next level. I have faith in those guys.

"I'm not going to lie, they played unbelievable this weekend," Keys said. "I was so impressed with Drake Maye and his five touchdowns and no interceptions. The defense was flying around. They were blocking and killing guys. There was a lot of energy and it was a packed house for a week zero game. It just tells you how much Carolina football has come up. People try to say it's a basketball school but I feel like you get the best of both worlds there."


Keys is an explosive athlete on the defensive side of the ball and his versatility will be a major asset at the next level. He does a good job covering in space and can get into the backfield to disrupt the quarterback. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound linebacker will have a chance to play early at the next level thanks to his natural athleticism but will need to physically mature quickly to be ready to handle the physicality of the college game.

As for his recruitment, Keys will be one to keep a close eye on with the Early Signing Period looming large in the distance. North Carolina will need to keep recruiting him like he is still uncommitted as they try to hold off Texas A&M, Auburn, Penn State, and any other new teams that come calling.

In the first game of his senior season, Keys racked up one sack, multiple quarterback pressures, and two long touchdown catches in Varina's week one win over Hopewell, Va.