Keelan Marion is dynamic. Both on the field and on the phone.
He’s also one of UH’s newest offers, picking his up just after Wednesday’s camp. The wide receiver, just under 6’1″, played for Grayson HS in Loganville, Georgia, halfway between Atlanta and Athens.
Grayson is one of the 48 programs in the state’s newly-created 7A classification and is a prime spot to start making waves in recruiting. Grayson was preseason #1 in 7A and ranked second when they lost in the third round of the playoffs. Co-DC Doug Belk and Tyron Carrier have recruited the state for several years and continue to do so.
Keelan graduated from Grayson last month and will enroll at Palmetto Prep, a football factory in Columbia, South Carolina. He has reclassified and will now be a class of 2020 recruit. But he says it’s not what it seems: he’s not going to Palmetto due to a test score or his core classes. We’ll cover it below.
Keelan agreed to talk to GoCoogs in detail about his 2018 season, what he’s gone through in recruiting, and what he likes about UH. He took me inside the process of what goes on at camp and how his offer was tendered.
Some portions of the interview were edited for clarity and length.
GoCoogs.com: You played at powerhouse Grayson. Tell me about your season?
Keelan Marion: My season was pretty good. It could have been great but I suffered a bad injury. A high ankle sprain. I missed 5 to 6 games and I didn’t come back until the playoffs.
In the first round playoff game, against South Forsyth, came out with 3 touchdowns. The (college recruiters) saw I was back healthy. Second playoff game, came back with two touchdowns. And the third round, it was rainy, inclement weather. Our run ended very early (Grayson lost 20-15 to Lowndes).
(Recruiters) were saying they needed more film or wanted to see more. And a lot of people backed off. It didn’t do anything but push me and make me go harder.
GoCoogs: So they backed off because you were injured and didn’t play a full season?
Keelan: Yes sir.
GoCoogs: Describe your game to me.
Keelan: I’m a big physical wideout. I’m not gonna say I’m speedy. I’ve got enough speed where I can break on you if you give me that chance. Or I put that move on you, I will break away. I can promise you that.
GoCoogs: Did you run at UH? Do you know what that number was?
Keelan: 4.5 flat
GoCoogs: Why did decide to go to Palmetto?
Keelan: Well, I decided to go to Palmetto Prep because, for one, I suffered the injury. I was committed to South Alabama and they were asking why I wasn’t playing. I was telling them, I was like, I’m injured right now. They pulled their offer back and told me they were letting me go.
I tried to roll over to Florida Atlantic but the wide receivers coach ended up getting dismissed. So I didn’t have anywhere to go.
The other offers I had, either there was a coaching change or all the slots were taken.
GoCoogs: Ok. So, most people go to prep school because of an academic situation. Are you academically qualified?
Keelan: Yes sir.
GoCoogs: You graduated from Grayson High School last month?
Keelan: Yes, sir.
GoCoogs: So your SAT or ACT is fine and you have all your core (classes)?
Keelan: Yes sir.
GoCoogs: Ok. So this was really just a football decision for you?
Keelan: Yes sir.
GoCoogs: When do you report to Palmetto?
Keelan: I report August 2nd.
GoCoogs: Ok. So what is your schedule like this fall?
Keelan: Any class I had below-average grades in, or I wasn’t comfortable with, I can retake it. They can prep me for a higher ACT and SAT scores.
Every morning, we get up and we have a certain amount of class time depending on your test scores and GPA. Then you have a workout, lunch, and practice.
And we play on Sundays.
GoCoogs: Are there any classes you want to improve a grade in?
Keelan: Yes sir. The class I probably want to improve in is a 10th-grade geometry class.
GoCoogs: Ok. So let’s move on to camps. Where all have you camped this summer?
Keelan: I’ve been at Southern Miss, Georgia Tech, TCU and Middle (Tennessee).
I will be attending, most likely, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisville, and maybe Wake Forest and Michigan.
And I will be attending Ole Miss this Saturday.
GoCoogs: Are you in contact with a lot of schools?
Keelan: A lot of schools are starting to hop on and reach out to me. I’m most interested in talking to a school that’s a good fit for me. Anyone that spreads the ball.
But who reached out to me and who have I been talking to? I’ve been talking to South Alabama, Colorado State, Jacksonville State. I’ve been talking to Michigan, Ole Miss, uhh, I talked to Kentucky, TCU. Texas Southern and Houston Baptist just started.
GoCoogs: When did you first hear from UH?
Keelan: I knew it was some of the same staff from West Virginia. When I was at Grayson last year, I talked to a couple of the staff that is at UH now. That’s how I ended up going down to their camp, putting on a really good show. They ended up liking and offering me. I just want to build a relationship with those guys.
GoCoogs: Who has been recruiting you from UH?
Keelan: Coach Carrier and Belk.
GoCoogs: Coach Carrier would be your position coach. What do you know about him?
Keelan: I know he had one of the best wide receiver groups last year at West Virginia. I want to build the relationship with him that I think I can.
GoCoogs: What do you think about Coach Carrier?
Keelan: I think he’s a pretty good coach from what I saw at that camp. He taught me a lot of stuff, he taught me things that I didn’t know. And he taught me some things that I can improve on.
GoCoogs: What did he teach you that you didn’t know?
Keelan: He taught me how to cross over and to keep my arms moving around the cones (in drills) and through routes. And how to swing my elbow to break out my routes.
GoCoogs: And what did he tell you that you could work on?
Keelan: Keeping my arms pumped and also, no drifting in my routes. He taught me how to stop drifting in my routes and come flat.
GoCoogs: Do you know anything about his playing days?
Keelan: I heard he was really fast.
GoCoogs: Yeah, he was. So when did the coaches start recruiting you to UH?
Keelan: It actually started the day of the camp.
GoCoogs: Oh! So it started (Wednesday)?
Keelan: I was communicating, yes sir. I was communicating with them for a while back it actually started yesterday at the camp.
GoCoogs: So besides camp, did you do anything on the UH campus like touring facilities or anything?
Keelan: Yes, sir. They wanted me to stay after for extra workouts but I had to catch a flight. So they are going to try to get me back very soon.
GoCoogs: What did you think of the indoor practice facility?
Keelan: I think it was pretty nice. It was nicer than all the schools I’ve been to, their indoor facilities.
GoCoogs: Did you get to do anything fun while you were in Houston?
Keelan: No sir, I flew down there that morning and flew right back.
GoCoogs: Ok, wow. So you flew to TCU and then home then flew to Houston separately?
Keelan: Yes sir.
GoCoogs: Ok. On Twitter, you said you fell in love with Houston and it might be home.
Keelan: Yes sir.
Man I Fell In Love With Houston , Think That Might Be Home For Me ? #GoCoogs
— Keelan Marion (@trecenook) June 6, 2019
GoCoogs: What do you mean by that?
Keelan: I mean, from speaking with Coach Carrier, he seems like he’s very interested. He’s showing me a lot of love. Showing me a lot of love. All the coaches are showing me love.
The indoor facility is really nice. It was like the town, I have an uncle that stays down there, so he kinda showed me around while we were heading there. It was pretty nice.
GoCoogs: So tell me about the offer. Who from UH made the offer directly to you?
Keelan: Coach Carrier.
GoCoogs: How did that go? Take me through it.
Keelan: When we were done camping, doing our reps and our one-on-one reps against DBs, other coaches were stopping me and getting my info and stuff.
After camp, he told me to stay behind. Coach Carrier told me, ‘son, you did great today.’ He said, ‘son, you can ball.’ He said we’re gonna offer, said you can ball, he said we need you here. We like you. We can fit you into this offense. Told me I could ball. Told me they were really interested.
He showed a lot of attention.
GoCoogs: Did any other staffers give you any feedback?
Keelan: I talked to Coach Etheridge, the safeties coach. He had been recruiting me when he was at Louisiana-Lafayette. So that’s how I knew about Houston, from him. When he was recruiting me back when he was at Louisiana. So he hit me up.
GoCoogs: So that’s where it started?
Keelan: Yes sir, it started from him. He hit me up today. He told me, he’s like, ‘we were talking about you today in the staff meeting.’ And he’s like, ‘we want you here.’
They want to build a relationship. A very close relationship with me. I wouldn’t mind that.
GoCoogs: What’s that feel like?
Keelan: It makes me feel like they’re very interested, they’re keeping in touch every hour, every other hour. Letting me know how workouts are going, stuff like that.
GoCoogs: The offer is committable, right?
Keelan: Yes sir, I just have to send my transcript down once I get it.
GoCoogs: So once you get the transcript to them, they would accept if you wanted to commit?
Keelan: Yes sir.
GoCoogs: What’s your time table to make your decision?
Keelan: I want to take my time and make sure it’s the right choice. I want to build a relationship with those guys that show me they want me.
I just want to get closer and get to know those guys.
GoCoogs: So your recruitment is still open?
Keelan: I wouldn’t mind talking to anyone but I just know, if it ever comes down to it, I know UH would be on the top of the list no matter what.
They recognized me from day one.
GoCoogs: Who is helping you work through these choices?
Keelan: Family. It’s a family decision. My coaches are helping me, too.
GoCoogs: Keelan, I think we covered everything.
Keelan: That works.
GoCoogs: Thank you, man.
Keelan: Thank you.
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