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Monday, December 9, 2013
Two stand out for ESPN Junior 300 DE

By Gerry Hamilton

LITHONIA, Ga. -- In the Class of 2015, defensive end Arden Key (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King) is one of the most heavily sought prospects in the Peach State with more than 20 offers.

The No. 59-ranked prospect in the ESPN Junior 300 was once committed to South Carolina along with high school teammate Wesley Green, but Key backed off that verbal pledge on Sept. 22.

Fast forward three months and the athletic edge-rush prospect is looking at all his options with two programs in line to make an eventual trimmed list.

“I’m listening to every school right now,” Key said. “I have a couple of schools that I know will be in the top five of my list. Those two would be South Carolina and Tennessee.”

Despite his decommitment, Key still likes the Gamecocks.

“It’s the atmosphere at South Carolina," he said. "You go down there and you feel at home, the coaches are good. ... It’s just great down there.”

This spring will be all about unofficial visits for Key as he hopes to step foot on a number of campuses both close to home and on the West Coast.

“I want to go see Tennessee. I haven’t been there yet," Key said. "I want to go back to Florida. With them changing with some of the coaches, I want to go back there. I want to take a visit to Oregon, maybe USC and Washington. I also want to go to Florida State."

One of Key's strengths is his versatility to play end in a 4-3 or outside linebacker in a 3-4.

“Most schools are telling me defensive end, but there are a couple saying outside linebacker. I’ll play wherever,” he said.

Key played at around 190 pounds as a sophomore and is closing in on 215 right now.

“Well, things I improved were my pass-rushing skills and run-stopping skills," Key said. "I still have to improve my attitude. I still get a little rowdy when we are down. So I need to work on my attitude, footwork and my strength.”

Whenever Key gets to the point of sitting down to make a final college decision, he will not be alone.

“My coaches, my dad and my mom will be big in my decision-making process,” Key said.

Key is the No. 8-ranked defensive end in the 2015 class and also the No. 8 junior prospect in the state of Georgia. His offer list includes Clemson, LSU, Miami (Fla.), Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, UCLA, USC and Washington, among others.