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June 16, 2013
After Martin Luther King (Ga.) High School 2015 defensive end Arden Key visited South Carolina this weekend, his decision timeframe was moved from October to July.
As it turns out, even that was too long to wait for him.
The 6-foot-5, 200-pounder with over 20 scholarship offers pulled the trigger for USC on Sunday after speaking with defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward.
"I did it early so that I can start building relationships," Key told GamecockCentral.com. "It was the best fit for me and is close to home. It's only like three hours away."
The academic support system in Columbia was a big factor for the standout from Lithonia, Ga.
"There is something about the academics. You just have to try to do the work," he said. "They lead the SEC in academics."
Bonds with the USC coaching staff that were previously formed played another role in the early pledge.
"The D-line coach (Deke Adams), we had a good relationship from when he was at North Carolina," Key said. "Of all the coaches, coach Ward is the one I have the best relationship with."
The biggest reason for the commitment, however was Key's friendship with a pair of current Gamecock commitments.
"The biggest factor was Bryson (Allen-Williams) and DJ Neal," he said. "We have been playing together since rec ball and then middle school and split off in high school. We always said we would go to the same college."
Key said it would take "something crazy" to pull him away from his commitment to USC. He does plan on seeing some other schools on visits before February 2015.
"I promised Tennessee I would visit there. I want to go back to Florida," he said. "I want to go to LSU but I haven't talked to them. I will take officials to Oregon and South Carolina, that's about it."
Want to find out how the process played out with Key? What kind of player is USC getting? What first round pick is he similar to out of high school? Find out in our members-only commitment insights by clicking here.
If you have any questions about this feature or wish to discuss it, please visit The Insiders Forum, Gamecock Central's members-only message board for Gamecock fans.
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