Denzel Keys Interview
By Dominique Moody, score editor
Dual athlete Denzel Keyes played both football and basketball up until his senior year, and was a starter on both. He is coming off of an impressive season with 42 receptions, 461 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. He led the team with receptions his final season, and will finish his collegiate football career Here at A&T with 111 career receptions, 1,333 receiving yards, and 25 total touchdowns. He also received an invite, along with four other A&T players, to the first ever HBCU Spirit of America Bowl. The Register caught up with Keyes to reflect on his collegiate career, and future career plans.
JJ: So you played in the HBCU Spirit of America Bowl, how was that experience?
DK: It was a great experience. It was the first ever Spirit of America Bowl, so I think there is some stuff that they could fix. But overall it was a great experience.
JJ: While you were out there, did you get to meet any current or former NFL players, scouts, or recruiters?
DK: I talked to a couple of NFL scouts. I didn’t get to meet any current or former players though.
JJ: What kind of advice did they give you if any?
DK: Basically they just got some background information from me. Trying to find out if I had anything like charges in my past. Things like that. And really they’re just trying to find out what type of person that you are off the field.
JJ: So you’re currently in Atlanta training for NFL Pro Day. How is that coming along for you?
DK: It’s a little more intense than I thought it would be, so it kind of woke me up. I was really tired the first week, but I’ve gotten used to it now. But it’s going pretty good.
JJ: Does that mean you intend to declare for the NFL draft in April?
DK: Yes, I will be declaring for the draft.
JJ: What were you expectations for both yourself and the team for the 2016 season? Do you think you met those expectations?
DK: For myself, I wanted to break the single season touchdown record, but I came up 1 or 2 touchdowns short. I also wanted to lead the team in receptions, which I did. For the team I wanted to win the MEAC outright, and go to the Celebration Bowl and win again, but obviously we came up short.
JJ: What kind of improvements do you think you have you made to your game over the past four years?
DK: I think I learned a lot from my coaches, and I improved on my routes. I also think I became more explosive. Just becoming an overall better person, being around the people that I’ve been around. So I think that I’ve improved as a person and a player.
JJ: You played both football and basketball up until your senior year, how was that experience playing two sports?
DK: It was a good experience, but kind of tiring. So I decided my last year that I wanted to focus on one sport and give it my all, which was football. Because I had a better career in football than I did basketball.
JJ: Do you believe that you’re capable of playing at a professional level?
DK: Yes I think that I’m capable of playing at a professional level.
JJ: What kind of improvements do you think that you’ll have to make to play proficiently at a professional level?
DK: Learning how to come in and out of my routes better, and getting faster.
JJ: If you could pick any team in the NFL, what team could you visualize yourself playing for?
DK: I’m a Steelers fan, so you know I’m going to say the Steelers. I would love to have an opportunity to play for the Steelers.
JJ: Looking back over your four year collegiate career, what is your greatest accomplishment?
DK: I would say the game winning catch against Kent State.
JJ: If you could go back in time, and talk to your 18- year old self, what kind of advice would you give yourself?
DK: As a freshmen I was just really anxious about playing. So I would just tell myself, be patient and trust the process.