HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM)
From former NFL quarterback Jason Campbell to current Major League Baseball player Billy Hamilton, Taylorsville football has witnessed the early feats of next level athletes.
Ty Keyes could be next up. He has the numbers to back this up. Keyes leads the state in passing yards with 2,326 to go along with 18 touchdowns. He has time on his side as well. Keyes is just a freshman.
"Saying that I didn’t know he was going to be this good is not the truth," Tartars coach Chuck Robertson said . "We knew he was going to be special but not this early. The biggest thing about him is he’s a great athlete and a great competitor but he has put the work in."
Keyes was mesmerizing through the air and the ground last week in the Tartars’ win over Lumberton. He went 15 for 18 for 408 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed for a score as well.
"It felt real good," Keyes said of his performance. "I just wanted to come out and have a great game for my team and that’s what I did. I just work hard everyday at practice. I’ve been really ready for this moment. So, I did it. "
Last Friday night was a first for Robertson.
" For the first time in 18 years I got kind of caught up watching him play," he said. "It was a fun thing to watch. A young man just out there loving to compete and just enjoying the moment That’s one thing that I’ve realized about this young man. The moment is never bigger than he is. "
With a slender six-foot frame, Keyes has a smoothness to his game. Adding to this element is a fierce competitive nature.
"Even as an eighth grader he started on the high basketball team as the point guard," Robertson said. "He started at center field on the baseball team. We knew he was a special talent. Just understanding that he loves to compete. When you have a kid that loves to compete and loves to play you don’t have to do a whole lot to prepare him for the game."
Despite being one of the younger players on the team, Keyes knows he is a leader.
"I was nervous at first but when my first game came I was ready to play," he said. "I was expected to be the leader for this team so that’s what I wanted to do for the team. Lead them to a state championship."
Keyes patterns his game after reigning Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson. Robertson believes Keyes has everything it takes to reach the levels of Jackson and Tartar greats.
"If he continues to work, keeps making good grades and keeps his head on tight he can go anywhere he wants to go,
he said. "He has that ability. You don’t want to put pressure on a young man to feel like he has to step up but if he keeps playing like he’s playing he’s going to be fine He’ll get to pick and choose where he wants to go."
Keyes is the present and future for Taylorsville football. He knows there is still work to be done before he adds his name to the list of program greats.
"That’s my dream but I need to work on my foot work," he said. "They be too wide sometimes when I throw the ball. But I worked on that."