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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame WR Lawrence Keys III Confident Following Spring

May 4, 2021

Notre Dame receiver Lawrence Keys III has flashed over his 20 career games for the Fighting Irish. 

The New Orleans native showed the ability to get behind a defense against Georgia in 2019, including a 28-yard catch at the end of the first half. 

Keys didn't find that magic in 2020 as a concussion and other injuries slowed him as he played in eight games.

"I had a lot of injuries that occurred last year like hamstrings and stuff like that," stated Keys. "It kind of backed me up." 

Injuries are frustrating, but Keys has seen upperclassmen turn the corner at Notre Dame and knew he had to step up his game heading into the spring. 

"I left it all up to the man above, but also I learned from a lot of guys in the past that left here like Miles Boykin, Chase Claypool, Chris Finke and Javon McKinley," Keys said. "Those guys helped me improve my game. It made me who I am today. 

"Now is the time, so I have to step up and play a bigger role now that those guys are gone. Those guys left a lot of tools with me that they had here and I carried them over. I feel it was definitely worth the wait." 

The senior receiver entered this spring with a new mindset to get stronger and it paid off. 

Keys has started to carve out a role in Tommy Rees' offense and capped the spring off with five receptions for 115 yards in the Blue-Gold Game. 

"My goal for this spring was to come in and get stronger in the weight room to help me be more explosive on the field and versatile," explained Keys. "This spring, you could definitely tell a huge difference from last spring. 

"Last year, I didn't really get to participate in practice because of injuries. This year, I became stronger. The stronger I got, the more versatile I got and the more I felt I can play any position on the field." 

The 5-foot-10, 173-pounder not only gained confidence in himself, but Rees has become more confident in him. 

"Lawrence Keys III has probably had as good of a spring as anybody on offense," said Rees. "He's shown the ability to stretch the field and make explosive plays. That was one of the things we challenged him with. We're going to put you in opportunities to make plays down the field and it's time to go make them. 

"Some of that is continuing to develop his strength. Some of that is understanding what we're trying to do and how we're trying to do it." 

Keys also credits some of his spring momentum to the rapport he's built with sophomore quarterback Drew Pyne.

"I have a really good connection," Keys said of Pyne. "We sit down and watch film together. Last year, we were really close. It just didn't really show that much until this year when we both got a chance to get out there on the field and play ball together. 

"We do things off the field to kind of help our brotherhood and relationship. We're going to keep building a strong connection there." 

Notre Dame will look to replace almost all of its production in the passing game from a year ago as Ian Book and company are off to the NFL. 

Keys is confident the chemistry between the quarterbacks and receivers will allow them to step up and not miss a beat. 

"It all started from when we first got here in the spring," said Keys. "We did things off the field. The receivers and quarterbacks, we all hung out together, watched film together and we all just have this connection as a strong brotherhood. We're so close and not even on the football field. 

"I feel that makes us stronger as a group. We're just together. Our bond is strong and we're on the same page." 

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