Academics Were A Key Factor In Keon Keeley's Choice Of Notre Dame

Notre Dame's academic were a big part of Keon Keeley's decision to commit early to the Fighting Irish
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Notre Dame is still working hard to fill out its 2022 recruiting class, but that didn't stop the staff from securing a commitment from 2023 edge defender Keon Keeley.

The 6-6, 230-pound defensive end recruit out of Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep announced his commitment to the Irish on Twitter this Monday after visiting the program back on June 12th. According to his high school coach, Dominick Ciao, it’s not often that players as young as Keeley commit this early.

“We don’t like players committing as tenth graders, but the way recruiting is going with the portal and roster numbers, I think things are happening faster right now,” explained Ciao, “I’m hoping it all works out. It’s a tremendous opportunity and place.”

Ciao suspected that Keeley’s decision may have came early because of the complicated recruiting landscape that COVID-19 created for the next few recruiting classes. Due to many young college players retaining an extra year of eligibility and limited roster openings, it could entice more players to commit early when big offers come.

What factored in heavily for Keeley’s choice of Notre Dame was the importance of academics. 

“He and his mom went and thought it was the right place,” added Ciao, “We’re a school of high academics, which was important for his mom and him. [Notre Dame] was a good fit, socially, academically and athletically.”

Based on his conversations with Keeley’s future defensive coordinator, Marcus Freeman, Ciao anticipates that Keeley will be deployed as a stand up rusher with the Irish. 

“Keon’s a defensive end hybrid guy who can drop into coverage,” said Ciao, “They just felt he was a good fit for their defense.”

Keeley just completed his sophomore year of high school, but he already earned offers from in-state powers Florida, Florida State and Miami as well as offers from North Carolina, Louisville, Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, UCF, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Arizona State and Rutgers.

Keeley ranks as the nation's No. 216 overall player according to 247Sports.

Last season for the Bucs as a sophomore, Keeley racked up 30 tackles, 6 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He’ll have two more years remaining of high school football before he heads to South Bend. 

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