Amidst all of the chaos of the transfer portal, the high school recruiting calendar also takes center stage in December. With the Early National Signing Day happening on Dec. 21, many classes from programs across the nation are already beginning to take shape.
Attempting to discern what positions are truly a need from the high school ranks has become even more challenging given the ebs and flows of the portal, but high school recruiting will always remain the backbone of any strong program and will continue to be a major industry in the sport.
For instance, Mizzou saw freshmen such as Brett Norfleet, Marvin Burks Jr., Marquis Johnson and Daniel Blood all play significant snaps on an experienced Tigers roster in 2023. This has become a program that puts the most talented and reliable players on the field regardless of experience, meaning that there is always potential for youngsters to see significant playing time.
This ‘24 class may not quite resemble the highly-touted ones from ‘21 and ‘22, but there are still plenty of noteworthy prospects that have the potential to be major contributors. In this series, I’ll be dealing out a handful of superlatives so Tiger fans can better get to know their new players:
The Instant Contributor: Cameron Keys
6-foot | 160 lbs. | Cornerback
Hometown: Lynn Haven, Fl. (A. Crawford Mosley High School)
247 Sports Rating: 3-star (No. 41 CB in the country, No. 515 overall)
Former Tiger Comparison: EJ Gaines (2010-2013)
The addition of Toriano Pride during this transfer portal cycle likely means that Keys won’t be fighting for a starting role next season, and that’s perfectly fine for a guy who still needs to add some mass to his frame. But, that doesn’t mean he can’t be a reliable rotational piece in the secondary.
It will be hard to keep Keys off the field, as he’s a fluid player who is gifted in coverage. His track background explains his ability to hang with any receiver in the open field as well, and all of that makes him a guy who is capable of holding his own in 1-on-1 situations. His natural talent and athleticism more than suggest that he should become one of the faces of the secondary in the near future.
The Gaines comparison is fairly ambitious, I know. But, Keys plays bigger than his size just like Gaines did, and they both are playing for high-quality coaching staffs that can get the most out of their DBs. Also, they both (at least it appears) will have played football during some golden years in Columbia.
♂️….@MosleyDolphinFB @CoachJules_UF @Coach2Bless @Coach_Norvell @Coach_MWoodson @Coach_TBell @T_WILL4REAL @CoachWilliams_7 @Jeremey_FSU @hardingharper @coachalpogue @gatorboi98 pic.twitter.com/nT9fMO5bjv— cameron(killacam)keys (@cameronkeys18) August 21, 2021
Again, he likely won’t start right away, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a pivotal piece on this 2024 team. Depth in the secondary is incredibly important, especially given how banged up that group was for Mizzou last season. Having someone with the ability of Keys in the waiting wing could be a luxury.