ATH, Class of 2021
Tennessee High, Bristol, TN
There’s a top seven for Tennessee High (Tenn.) three-star defensive back Jaden Keller, but due to a lack of visits, he’s maneuvering the majority of that list somewhat blindly.
On Sept. 30, Keller announced a top seven of Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Western Kentucky, Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, he’s seen only two of those programs first-hand: the Hokies and Volunteers. But as he inches closer to a decision, he’s still trying to decipher which program fits him best.
“I’m looking more at the coaching staff and how the overall program operates on a day to day basis,” Keller said. “I’m definitely looking to the campus and the environment in the whole football program and everything.”
Keller said he was at Virginia Tech last October for its six-overtime win over North Carolina that remains the longest game in ACC history. The visit served as the benchmark he’s held for the Hokies, though he was also at a junior day earlier this year.
“They definitely have good fan support,” Keller said. “I was there and they didn’t stop cheering for one second. It was the longest game and they didn’t leave, didn’t stop cheering at all. My whole family just loved the environment there. The school, my youth pastor went there, and he took me on a campus tour. It’s nice, all the things there, all the opportunities they have at the school, I got to see all that.”
Assistant coach Adam Lechtenberg has been Keller’s primary contact. The two have been steadily in touch, before and since the pandemic’s onset in March.
Keller, Rivals.com’s No. 23 player in Tennessee for the 2021 class, visited the Volunteers in February, but said he’s been unable to visit since.
“It was a junior day and I liked it,” he said. “They had really nice facilities. I went to the indoor facility, went on a tour and I like the campus, the stadium and the fan support and everything. It’s just all really nice.”
Keller also attended a junior day earlier this year at South Carolina. But he counts Vanderbilt as another school that has ramped up its recruiting efforts. He’d hoped to visit more of his top schools by now, but because he hasn’t, he has leaned more on the trips he did get in.
“I guess seeing the schools in-person helps me narrow it down more,” Keller said. “I have a good feel about how it is around there. I got a good look...
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