"My summer started off slow with the addition of summer school," J.J. Keels said. "For about five weeks I spent my days in the classroom building up and developing not only a better studying habit but improving on my SAT score. After school my strength coach would hold lifting secession to show us the proper way of lifting but at the same time build our muscle mass and core.
"I started to receive contact and letter from schools. The University of Vanderbilt was my first contact the kept strong with me for two weeks and really enjoyed my tape. Coach Bryant and Coach Ketchings both were impressed with my athletic ability and display of work ethic on the field and without a doubt in mind and offered me a full scholarship to their school.
"Another school that came out hard prior to Vanderbilt was the University of Cincinnati. Contact from Soach Addae started off strong and I could tell this was going to be a great relationship. He was very impressed with what he said and offered me in no time. Little did coach know but I was a native of Ohio, born on Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton Ohio. He was stunned and said 'That's great. It'll be like a homecoming for you' and indeed it would be."
Keels ran for more than 1,800 yards last season and ended his junior season with 23 rushing touchdowns. Keels added one interception on defense but projects at the running back position at the next level. He was also named second team all-state for 1B. Keels has managed to have some fun throughout the recruiting process with another local running back, Chevelle Buie from Cocoa High School.
"Florida Today, a local newspaper called me one day and asked could I take some pictures for them and I said, 'yes, but with who and for what?' The man gracefully said 'for our football section and with Chevelle Buie.' I immediately said 'I would love to.' We both laughed and before I knew it I had my pads on and helmet in hand and was at the community pool doing pictures jumping in. Yeah it sounds kind of crazy that were jumping in a pool in our pads but boy did it feel amazing.
"Chevelle and I being the top athletes in our county and playing little league ball together developed and made our bond even more stronger. This season should be great one and end with a ring. Our team is missing some key positions but is still heavily strong and we've received kids from other schools that have taken on to play in those positions needed. This year will be a very productive year for FAA."
Follow Jason Higdon on
J.J. Keels Updtes his Summer
Fightin Gators Top Stories
Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; March 23A few thoughts to jump start your Thursday morning...
Fightin GatorsYesterday at 10:02 PM
Sights and Sounds from WednesdayGAINESVILLE, Fla.-- Here are sights and sounds from Florida's practice on Wednesday. The video contains a quick look at the quarterbacks, wide receivers, defensive backs and…
Fightin GatorsYesterday at 4:13 PM
Fighting for RepsGAINSVILLE, Fla.-- Jim McElwain says the running backs are his most competitive group and both Mark Thompson and Lamical Perine are ready to earn their reps this season.
Fightin GatorsYesterday at 9:27 AM
Gators Lead for Scout 300 WRFresh off an LSU offer, Scout 300 receiver Anthony Schwartz has one school sitting atop his list, but says other schools are "sneaking up" as well.
Scout FootballYesterday at 8:56 AM