Even after a brutal loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks, Tennessee football is still doing work on the recruiting trail, and they’re doing it for this upcoming class. Always the coach to maximize the the talents of skill players, Josh Heupel added another such talent for 2023 out of Alabama.
Khalifa Keith, a three-star across the board, became the Vols’ 22nd commitment for this class. Coming out of Parker High School in Birmingham, Ala., Keith stands between 6’1″ and 6’2″ and weighs in the range of 205 to 225 pounds.
This commitment from the Jefferson County prospect comes the same week the Vols parted ways with 2023 running back commit Will Stallings. That occurred last Tuesday. Keith announced his decision to commit to Tennessee football Sunday afternoon on Twitter.
My dad passed away two years ago today. He is the reason I have the opportunity to make a decision like this. Love you pops!!#LongLiveMyLoveOnes💜🖤
— Uno🃏 (@KhalifaKeith2) November 20, 2022
Although he wasn’t highly rated, Keith drew interest from certain high-profile schools, most notably the Kentucky Wildcats. As a result, this is still very clearly a good pickup for the Vols, one that will add more versatility to their backfield.
Since most sites have him in the range of 215 to 225 pounds, it’s safe to assume that Keith would be a power back for Rocky Top. That’s something they have missed this year due to Len’Neth Whitehead suffering a season-ending injury in August.
Now, with Whitehead coming back next year, UT can go two-deep there, and that’s crucial. Add in another year of experience for Justin Williams-Thomas and Dylan Sampson, and this unit as a whole should be dangerous. Here is a look at Keith’s highlight reel.
As you can see, even with his size, Keith has great breakaway speed, and he’s obviously facing good competition playing down in Alabama. He’s clearly a north-south runner, but it’s hard to see how he embraces contact, as he’s often never touched.
With Keith’s commitment, Tennessee football is still at just one running back for 2023 since Stallings is gone. However, they now have four commitments from the state of Alabama, so that’s playing a huge role in this next class.