Videos by OutKick
Former Southern Mississippi quarterback Ty Keyes is another curious case of the transfer portal. There are a lot of dots that remain unconnected with his recent commitment to East Mississippi, and not to Syracuse.
Keyes, a three-star recruit in the Class of 2021, finished his high school career with 14,525 passing yards and 155 total touchdowns. He won three state titles in Mississippi and received 10 offers from the likes of Tulane, Auburn, Kansas, Ole Miss, Oregon, Louisiana and Nebraska, among others.
Ultimately, Keyes chose to stay home and compete for the starting job at Southern Miss instead of serving as a backup on the Power Five level. And that bet on himself paid off.
The 6-foot-2, 213-pound dual-threat quarterback won the starting job in each of his two years with the Golden Eagles program, but saw injuries end both seasons early. He threw for 636 yards, six touchdowns, and six interceptions. Keyes also ran for 106 yards and a touchdown in seven games.
After failing to stay healthy, Keyes decided to seek a fresh start and hit the transfer portal on Jan. 4, 2023. Although multiple teams were interested, including Arkansas State, it was Syracuse that was atop the list.
Ty Keyes took an official visit to Syracuse last weekend.
He liked what he saw and left upstate New York with a lot of interest.
The best part for me personally was being down there, looking at the Dome and watching that basketball game. It’s a great environment. I love it out there.— Ty Keyes discussing his visit, via All Syracuse
It also sounded like the coaching staff was equally as interested in him.
They expressed that a lot to me, that they really want me. We watched film, broke down a couple plays that they run. They actually fit the type of player that I am.— Ty Keyes discussing his visit, via All Syracuse
While Keyes would have to get used to the idea of playing away from his family before committing to the Orange, there was a lot of buzz around the pairing. It seemed as though ‘Cuse had the upper hand.
He even said that he would be back and closed his recruitment process.
But then, on Wednesday, Keyes committed to play for East Mississippi Community College.
Less than a week after visiting Syracuse, he chose to go the JUCO route and play for Buddy Stephens at the program made most famous by Netflix’s ‘Last Chance U’ series. It came out of nowhere.
So what happened with Syracuse?!
That is the question that everybody, especially fans of the Orange, wanted answered. Keyes did not provide that information. Instead, he gave a very cryptic response.
While Keyes did not choose to comment on the situation, he did shut down any academic concerns.
NCAA rules prohibit public comments on any prospective student-athletes. The staff, nor anybody at Syracuse could clarify what Keyes meant by “the real reason” when asked. It remains a mystery.