Gerard Martinez |

Keyshawn 'Pie' Young moves to receiver

True sophomore Keyshawn 'Pie' Young will try to make a name for himself on the offensive side of the ball.

Last season incoming freshman athlete Keyshawn Young was a reserve cornerback for the Trojans who played mostly on special teams. Overall he saw the field for nine games, missing the rivalry games late in the season due to a concussion.

'Pie' Young spent the first week of spring football at cornerback, but on Tuesday Young switched over to a cardinal practice jersey and worked out with the wide receivers.

"It felt great," Young said after practice. "It was like a relief to be on that side of the ball. The wait is over now, so I am ready for it."

From the beginning Young expected to be a wide receiver, but last season that only lasted for one practice.

"I first came in as a receiver, I wasn't expecting to really play DB," he said. "I just did it because I can do it. I did one practice [at receiver] and after that they switched me over and told me to work out on defense to see how it goes. But this year I came back over to receiver."

There was talk of giving Young a tryout of sorts, but he has no plans of going back to defense.

"It is a permanent switch," Young said. "I am only going to play receiver and special teams right now. We talked about it in meetings, they just wanted to evaluate me on both sides of the ball. They said to do corner one week and receiver one week, and that is what I am doing right now."

After just one practice head coach Clay Helton liked what he saw.

"I'll tell you what, really natural ball skills. He was a receiver by trade, because of our lack of depth at the corner position last year we really wanted to take a peek at him," Helton said. "He did it really well, helped us on special teams. Really want to see it carry over, now that we are a young wide receivers unit losing four wide receivers, we wanted to be able to take a look at him on the offensive side. 

"What's shown up, at least in this initial practice, is very natural route running, very natural ball skills, can do things after the catch. So we're a little bit excited about him right now, he reminds you of that Deontay [Burnett] type of player, and that's not a bad thing. Looking forward to exploring him more at that position."

Young feels he can bring something to help this wide receivers group.

"I'll bring some energy to the guys," he said. "There are not a lot of bodies so I am that extra guy who can help them when they are tired, stuff like that.

"I can read a defense so this should be an easy jump for me, I can read and locate what coverage they are in."

It will certainly take some time however for the true sophomore to learn his new position.

"I am still learning [the playbook]. I have a lot more to learn, I learned some stuff, am comfortable with a little bit of it. I just have to keep learning."

To start Young is going to be playing in the slot for the Trojans.

"They have me at the 'F' spot right now, a lot of motioning, coming back out, stuff like that," he said. "They just told me to learn 'F' right now and then over time I will learn the other receiver spots."

Some of his teammates have been helping Pie out with his new position.

"I'm playing behind 'Tay' Burnett. Tyler [Vaughns] is helping me, JG [Jalen Greene] is helping me, the older guys are helping me with the flow."

While the receivers are young, with Adoree Jackson moving on there was a spot open at corner that Young could have competed for. But in the end, receiver is where he wanted to be.

"I wanted to do what I felt like was best for me. I am really comfortable playing receiver, that is the position I really love, so that is why I made the decision to come to that side of the ball."

Stay tuned to for more updates from spring football practice.

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Ryan Abraham has been the publisher of since 1996. You can follow him on Twitter at @InsideTroy or email him at

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