UK recruits Keenum and Bryant have formed unlikely friendship

Published 5:38 pm Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

One is an offensive lineman, one is a defensive back.

One is from a small school in Alabama, one is from a large school in Lexington.

While 6-4, 300-pound Koby Keenum and 6-1, 190-pound Ty Bryant might seem like the odd couple, they formed a friendship while they were being recruited by Kentucky and plan to room together when they arrive on the UK campus next month.

Email newsletter signup

They will be two of the players signing scholarship with coach Mark Stoops and the Cats this week during the national signing period (Bryant is on a cruise but will fax his scholarship papers while on the trip with his mother).

“Koby is a funny guy. On my official visit I didn’t know him. He was a guy that was just kind of there,” said Bryant, the MVP in the Class 5A state championship game win for Frederick Douglass. “Then later on that night we started talking and creating a bond.

“The next day we spent the whole day together. He’s really cool and really funny. I really like that. He’s a big guy but we just bonded.”

Keenum, who recently was elevated to four-star status, says the two have a “close relationship” and have enjoyed time hanging out.

“We just kind of clicked. After we hung out, we just decided to be roommates. We’ve already talked about stuff we need to do. I am really close to his mom. If I get homesick, I can just go hang with them.”

Keenum played for Mars Hill Bible School in Florence, Ala. He had about 50 major college scholarship offers but never had any major second thoughts about his commitment to UK despite the Cats 7-5 mark this season.

“It was more schools just kept reaching out to me and wanting me to flip. Mississippi, Mississippi State, (Colorado coach) Deion (Sanders) all stayed on me. There was some pressure at school and when I was at the all-star game,” Keenum said.

“Understandably, Kentucky got worried. But it was nothing against Kentucky’s record. It’s just coaches trying to get to me. All of them were telling me I was on the top of their (recruiting) boards. It felt good knowing that they thought of me like that but I was coming  to Kentucky.”

Bryant only had about 10 offers but the major reason was because he committed to UK early and most schools knew he would not flip since he lived in Lexington and his father, Cisco, is a former UK player. He also has three former teammates — Dane Key, Jager Burton and Dekel Crowdus — already playing at Kentucky.

However, Bryant is looking forward to rooming with Keenum, the nation’s No. 2 center in the 2023 recruiting rankings.

“He is a little country and sometimes you can hear that when he talks but he is cool. I don’t view him as a country boy from Alabama but just as a real kid and someone I also think is going to be a really good player for us,” Bryant said. “I can’t wait to get going and see what we can both do.”