The very first day that high school players were allowed to meet with coaches in person for the first time in over a year, Dane Key spent his time at Kentucky.
A rising senior wide receiver from Frederick Douglass High School located right here in Lexington, KY, Key is considered of the top recruiting targets for the Wildcat coaching staff. Not only is he a four-star prospect, but he’s also a top 250 player in the country from the class of 2022. Only Rutgers-bound quarterback Gavin Wimsatt is ranked above Key in the Bluegrass State.
Thursday night, KSR spoke with Key’s head coach at Frederick Douglass, Nathan McPeek, to get a better idea of how the visit to Kentucky went. Coach McPeek was actually on his way back from the University of Missouri when we reached out, where he took three of his Douglass players (two of them hold offers from Kentucky in class of 2023 prospects Isaiah Kenney and T.J. Horton Jr.) down for a camp visit. He was able to communicate with Key earlier that morning though and shared what Key told him about the unofficial to UK.
“He said it went really well,” Coach McPeek told KSR about his conversation with Key. “Obviously, it’s a university that’s doing really really well with Coach Stoops and all the success that they’ve had. I know that he’s obviously really good friends with (Jager Burton) and Dekel (Crowdus) going over there. I think it went well. I know he’s got a few other visits lined up to go check out this month but they’re still playing baseball so he’s been kinda tied up with that. All indications, he told me that it went really well. It’s not like he doesn’t know the place.”
Those other visits that Coach McPeek referenced are to Oregon next week and then to South Carolina a week after that. Key’s father, Donte Key, broke that news over the KSR radio show airwaves during Friday’s edition of the program. He also added that his son had a “real nice time” during his unofficial trip to the Lexington-based campus. That being said, Donte Key explained on KSR that nothing is remotely close to being set in stone.
“I love Kentucky as much as anybody else but we have a long way to go and it’s honestly up in the air with Dane’s recruiting. We have no idea,” Donte Key said on KSR during Friday’s show. “He went over to Kentucky for an unofficial visit on Tuesday–the first day that they could open–and he had a real nice time over there but we’ve got other official visits coming up here. Next week we’re going to Oregon and then the week after that we’re going to South Carolina. He hasn’t decided the other official visits he’s gonna take but we got those set up already. We’re looking forward to the process.”
Coach McPeek added that he expects Key to make a decision around the fall, although that could change as his recruitment continues into the summer. As of right now, Key does not have an official visit scheduled to Kentucky, but he will have three remaining after his trips to Oregon and South Carolina. The Gamecocks are a team to watch as Key’s recruitment continues.
Key is still in the midst of his baseball season with Frederick Douglass, as well, which has surely packed his summer schedule. That season is winding down though, with Regional Tournaments scheduled to start on Saturday. Once that’s over, it’ll be all about football, summer workouts, and campus tours.
The loss of defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale hasn’t affected the recruitment of Key at all, either. Associate head coach Vince Marrow has been all over Key from the jump. There is another class of 2022 prospect from Frederick Douglass that was being at least partially recruited by Clinkscale, though: three-star athlete Ty Bryant, who is the son of former Kentucky wide receiver Cisco Bryant. McPeek said that the communication between Kentucky and Bryant has not slowed down since Clinkscale’s departure as Coach Marrow has picked up right where Clinkscale left off, taking over as the lead recruiter for Bryant.
Both Key and Bryant are prospects that Kentucky can and should land, especially when you consider the Wildcats track record recruiting out of Frederick Douglass. One thing is for sure though: anything can happen with a full summer and the return to a normal recruiting process after roughly 16 months of uncertainty.