Two uniforms, two playing locations, but one player.
In most cases, being a college athlete is similar to working a full-time job. They practice in the morning, work throughout the day, and go home at night.
The continuous cycle has been known to tire even the best of athletes. For many, they cannot imagine taking on twice the workload.
Denzel Keyes, a freshman chemistry major from Kinston, is embracing this opportunity. In his first year as an Aggie, Keyes has his work cut out for him. Keyes is not only a member of the football team, but is also on A&T’s basketball roster.
Keyes’ highly decorated high school career helped earn him a spot on both teams. Playing high school football, Keyes was pre-season All-State, All-Conference, and Area Offensive Player of the Year. As a senior he caught 13 touchdowns and compiled over 600 receiving yards. Keyes was All-Conference and All-State in basketball, averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds as a senior at Kinston High.
Being recruited for football early and basketball later, Keyes enjoys both sports equally. When asked which sport was his favorite, the 6’4 200 pound Keyes answered, “probably basketball because I have been playing it a little while longer than football, but I really like both.”
Keyes started out playing both sports as a child and continued to progress with the encouragement of his family. “I want to do well for my family. Just to say thank you for all they have done for me,” said Keyes.
The wide receiver and shooting guard signed with A&T after his brother and sister spent time as students here. Keyes says he felt comfortable and welcome when he first arrived at A&T.
Keyes attended workout camps for both basketball and football this past summer, describing his days as “football practice, basketball practice, class, lunch, football practice, and finally basketball practice again before turning in for the night and preparing to do it all over again the next day.” Now that school has begun, Keyes says his only free time is when he goes to sleep at night.
Keyes’ goals for football include giving his best effort and catching everything thrown in his direction. His basketball goals are simply to improve his skill set. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Keyes’ two sport situation is that the seasons overlap each other. Football season has started and continues through early December. Basketball begins in November and finishes up in March.
A&T football Offensive coordinator Ricky Bustle stated, “Denzel is adjusting well on the football field, the coaches are moving him around at slot receiver and wideout.” Keyes has totaled three receptions for 36 yards so far in 2013. “Coaches and teammates are embracing him well and Keyes has a great personality,” said Bustle.
- Tremayne Farmer & Miranda Jacobs Contributors