In his first public comments as offensive-line coach at Georgia Tech, Brent Key didn’t mince words. Key, speaking with defensive line coach Marco Coleman on signing day Wednesday, cast his own light upon the vision that coach Geoff Collins holds for the Yellow Jackets to be among the college-football elite.
Two responses were particularly energized and brought to the surface Key’s pride and belief in his alma mater, qualities that likely will serve him and his employer well in recruiting.
Key was asked a question about how, given that Tech had been a competitor of his in recruiting while a coach at Central Florida and then Alabama, he might have a better sense of how to handle the negative recruiting against Tech. He first said that he hadn’t recruited against Tech “in a long time. And that’s a shame.” (Key was at Alabama for the past three seasons.)
He went on to extol Tech’s virtues (”I mean, hell, this is the most special place in the world”).
“I went through this place. This place made me who I am today,” he said. “I know the truth about this place. Somebody asked me how are you going to recruit to Georgia Tech differently than you were at Alabama. I said, ‘(Expletive), it’s going to be easier. It’s going to be so much easier. I’ve got more to offer.’
“Tuscaloosa/Atlanta. Outstanding academics. We wake up every morning, look what it’s in our hands. (Key picked up a cellphone recording the news conference, and then others). Technology. Technology. First thing you do when you wake up in the morning probably. Look where we’re at – in the epicenter of it all. So I don’t know if that answers your question. You got me a little fired up there. But I think you can tell how happy I am to be here.”
It perhaps bears mention here that Key was credited with delivering nine prospects to Alabama in the 2019 class, including one 5-star recruit (247Sports Composite) and seven 4-star recruits, and the ninth was a 3-star kicker rated the No. 1 prospect at his position.
Key was later asked to explain his thought process in leaving Alabama for Tech.
“It’s home,” he said. “And I can guarantee you this: When we’re done changing the culture under the vision of what coach Collins wants to do, no one will ever ask that question again.”
Here Key paused, his response apparently complete. He even actually nodded his head and winked at the reporter asking the question. But with no question following, as media were digesting what he had put forth, he continued.
“It’s for real guys. This is real. This is real. And for us to change the mindset that people have of what Georgia Tech is, in the scope of college football, that’s what coach Collins is here for. That’s what we’re here for with him. That’s what we believe it is.
“And I know in different eyes it is seen different, and I wasn’t being a smart butt to you by any means. That’s what we see this place as. That’s what we feel it as. I get more energy walking out on that field right there (he pointed out to Grant Field) than I do walking out in front of 110,000 people anywhere else. I see the lights of the city, I feel the energy. We’ve bled on that field. We know what can come through here.
“Look at this dude (motioning to Coleman). He’s still flipping tires out there with the players (during offseason workouts), making us (coaches) all look, like, horrible. But these are the guys that have been through here and that’s our feel. That’s our belief. It’s not a vision that’s going to be something that’s going to go dead in six months, 12 months 24 months.
“This is real. This is real. And one day at a time, one person at a time, one mind at a time, we will change the way people think about Georgia Tech football.”
He punctuated the final sentence by slamming the table with his fist three times: “About (slam) Georgia Tech (slam) football (slam).”
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