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Monday, March 4, 2013
OKPreps 14 for '14: QB Coleman Key

By Bob Przybylo

Is the Class of 2014 crop of in-state talent the best Oklahoma has seen since 2006? With six recruits in the ESPN Watch List, it’s shaping up to be a busy recruiting year in the Sooner State. For the next three weeks, SoonerNation is going to profile the OKPreps’ 14 for ’14: a look at some of the top names and where they stand with OU.

QB Coleman Key (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow, 6-4, 199)
2012 stats: 129-of-234 for 1,510 yards with 16 touchdowns, 6 interceptions.

Sometimes you’re born in the wrong year. If you’re a Texas high school defensive back, it’s tough to become noticed for the Class of 2014. With 15 defensive backs in the ESPN Watch List, it’s a loaded group.

Coleman Key
Rising senior signal-caller Coleman Key has seen his interest level pick up this spring.
If you’re an Oklahoma high school quarterback, that’s the same predicament. The 2013 class was headlined by three-star prospect Brayden Scott (Tahlequah, Okla./Sequoyah), who has enrolled early at Memphis.

But ask most followers of the state, and there might have been three Class of 2014 quarterbacks better than Scott with Key definitely in that group.

After a tepid fall, the offers are starting to roll in for Key. Illinois, Colorado State, Toledo and Western Michigan have all offered in the last month, while he has attended or been invited to junior days at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Kansas and LSU.

Key became a name to watch following an incredible summer on the camp circuit. But that didn’t translate into automatic success in his first year as a starter.

“I definitely felt like I progressed as the season went along,” Key said. “I gained a lot more confidence as the season kept going.”

Key’s expectations were high as were the expectations for the Broken Arrow team. Maybe it was a little too high.

After the first couple of games, even Key admitted he wasn’t sure what was going wrong. There were times when he felt comfortable and times when he looked lost.

Coincidentally enough, it was a loss at Tulsa Union that started to show Key he did have the ability to play quality football.

“After the Union game, things sort of clicked a lot more,” Key said. “I started to become a better leader and have more confidence in what I see.”

It showed the rest of the season. Key didn’t produce the eye-popping numbers that some of the other quarterbacks did as a junior, but the maturity he displayed has given everybody a reason to be excited for his senior campaign.

Key has been a frequent visitor to OU’s campus in the last year and has had several long talks with OU quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel.

He knew going into OU’s junior day an offer most likely wasn’t coming his way. It didn’t but what was a little disconcerting was Watch List quarterback Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe) earning the offer from the Sooners.

“I was happy for Justice, but I was disappointed with the result,” Key said. “I’m not going to pout about this. This is a motivation for me going forward.”

Key is also playing baseball, which hasn’t allowed him to attend as many junior days as he would like. He had a good time at OSU, and the Cowboys have a little advantage of the rest of the field because his teammate, Watch List running back Devon Thomas, is already committed to OSU.

“I definitely like what I hear and love how they sling it,” Key said. “Devon can give real insight on how things are.”

Key was unable to register for an Elite 11 quarterback event last year but said he is definitely going to compete at a regional event this spring.