Keys impressed by Bielema defenses

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College defensive back Josh Keys was impressed when Arkansas hired Bret Bielema. He said the Wisconsin defenses he and Chris Ash coached specifically stood out to him.

When Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long hired Bret Bielema, the Razorbacks' football program gained a tool for recruiting defensive players.

Josh Keys, a defensive back for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, said Bielema and his defensive coordinator, Chris Ash, have helped pique his interest for Arkansas.

"I got really interested when they hired coach Bret Bielema," Keys said. "That got my interest first. And then Coach Ash came and talked to me and told me he wanted to recruit me and wanted me to play safety for him. So I went back and researched coach Bret Bielema and Coach Ash and saw that in the last two years, they were almost in the top five defensively.

"I think coaches' success on defense like that could help me make my decision of where I want to go and stuff like that."

Keys, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound junior college safety, recorded 41 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 5 pass breakups and an interception in his freshman season. He played almost exclusively at cornerback last year before switching to safety in the spring.

Keys has a lengthy offer list, including nine Southeastern Conference schools. He said playing in the conference that has won the last seven national titles will be something he considers when choosing his school.

"I think it would be good to continue my career in the SEC," he said. "Especially considering Coach Ash's defenses at Wisconsin. I think it would help me get better playing in the SEC. It would be hard going against Alabama, Auburn and all of them high-powered schools in the SEC, but I'll be looking forward to that challenge if I decide to play in the SEC."

Keys said he is not ready to make any decisions yet, including making a top-five list. He said Arkansas would make the hypothetical cut, though.

"I can't pick a top five yet, but if I had to make that decision, Arkansas would for sure be in the top five and probably Oklahoma State, but I'm not ready to make any decisions yet," Keys said. "I'm just taking it day-by-day."

Keys has yet to visit Arkansas, but is planning on taking an official visit during football season. He said he does not know which game he will attend yet, but the coaching staff wants him to see the new facilities and experience a game in Fayetteville when they do set a date.

"They were telling me about the new facilities and the weight room and that the new practice facility is already in place, but I looked at some stuff on it and it adds to me liking Arkansas," Keys said.

"I'm looking forward to seeing what the atmosphere for a game is like and see how hyped the crowd is. I like the crowd hype and motivation before and during a game. And then I'm looking to see what kind of things would be good to major in, what type of people they have at the school and see if it's a good fit for me or not."

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