Under-the-radar OL dishes on relationship with Austin, interest in Tigers

Under-the-radar OL dishes on relationship with Austin, interest in Tigers

Recruiting

Under-the-radar OL dishes on relationship with Austin, interest in Tigers

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An under-the-radar prospect recently told The Clemson Insider that Clemson has him as the No. 2 interior offensive linemen on its board in the 2023 recruiting class.

TCI recently caught back up with Mars Hill Bible School (Florence, Ala.) three-star Koby Keenum. He dished on his ongoing relationship with Clemson offensive line coach Thomas Austin, his interest in the program and future plans for getting back up to Tiger Town.

“Me and Coach Austin — the new offensive line coach — we’ve been talking a lot,” Keenum told TCI. “We scheduled a time, we’re not sure what day, but it’s gonna be in March to go back up to [Clemson]. He was saying that they’re really interested in me and to make sure I was interested in them, of course.

“We’re kind of building that relationship and then when we get up there in March, we’re really gonna sit down and break down my film and see how everything looks.”

Keenum is planning on taking all his visits in the spring, including going back up to Clemson in March and staying in The Valley for a few days. 

“The first time I went up there, I really liked it,” he said of Clemson. “I liked the coaching and I liked the atmosphere, that’s why they’re gonna be one of my top schools. I just like the way they coach their guys and stuff like that.”

“They’re definitely gonna be one of my top-5 [schools], I would think,” Keenum added.

As for his relationship with Austin, when Keenum first started talking with Clemson’s newly minted offensive line coach, he figured that the former analyst would eventually step into his current role. 

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney announced after Clemson’s Cheez-It Bowl, that Robbie Caldwell had coached his last game and would be transitioning into an off-field role with the program as the director of high school relations.

Keenum is a big fan of Austin and they should be hopping on the phone again sometime later this week.

A typical phone conversation between them will generally be just Austin checking up on Keenum and talking about how he likes his film.

“I told him that I’m in no rush to commit,” Keenum said. “I’m gonna sit back and wait ‘til I know for 100% fact where I think home is and he knows that. I think we’re in no big rush right now, just kind of figure out what he wants and is looking for and the same for me too.”

With Keenum in evaluation mode, he’s already outlined some of the more important factors that he’s looking for in a school at the next level.

“Probably the family atmosphere and how well I can bond with the coaches,” he said. “That’s gonna be one of my big priorities is how I respond to coaches, kind of see how they coach and how I like it.”

Keenum feels like he progressed a lot during his junior season and that college coaches took note of that as well. 

With that being said, what has Austin told Keenum that he likes about his playstyle and what he showed on film during his junior campaign?

“He likes my nastiness,” Keenum said. “He likes how quick I can get off the ball and get to the next level. In most plays, I’m 20-yards down the field running and blocking for my backs. He sees that as a big factor, I guess, as a big lineman like me getting down the field, quick and mobile.”

Keenum sees himself as a guard or center, but he’s willing to play wherever to help his team at the next level.

“They’re really interested in me,” he said of Clemson. “They’re projecting me at the center, actually, for college.”

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