by Jared O’Brien
Over the past four years, senior Kahlil Keys has transformed from a ‘raw’ player, as he described himself, to a highly recruited running back that has committed to playing football at Yale in 2011. Keys will attend Choate Rosemary Hall Preparatory School in Wallingford, CT, which is approximately seven miles from the Yale campus.
Keys will play on the Choate team next year and will have a guaranteed roster spot on the Yale team in 2011. Since Choate is not a university, Keys will still have four years of athletic eligibility when he enters Yale.
Attending Choate was a strictly academic move to help ease the transition from Casa to one of the most prestigious academic universities in the nation.
“I talked to the Yale coaches and they completely support my decision,” said Keys. “I will be able to practice with the team, travel with the team, and room with the Yale players on the weekend. It is almost like a redshirt season for me.”
Keys was a natural running back despite playing organized football for the first time freshman year. After excelling on the freshmen team, Keys was called up to the junior varsity.
“I didn’t have the experience, but I grew up watching the 49ers and Ladainian Tomlinson on the Chargers and that’s where I got my love for football,” said Keys. “I knew football was what I wanted to do. As soon as I got called up to JV, I knew I wanted to play college football.”
College football coaches began taking notice of the downfield running back during his sophomore season. While coaches were scouting alumni Matt O’Brien and Matt Nadolski, they noticed Keys’ abilities to bowl over defenders. During the spring of Keys’ junior year, he received a flood of scholarship offers and interest from major college programs.
He said his final choices were between being a priority walk-on at Cal or Stanford, UC Davis, Cal Poly, a full-ride to UNLV, and a financial need-based scholarship to Yale. After careful consideration, he chose Yale mainly because of its academic prestige.
On his decision Keys said, “Once I got to Yale, I found out their program is more competitive than I originally thought. I believe Yale will help me grow as a person the most. I will be 3,000 miles from home and will have to become independent.”