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Brent Key accepts coaching position at Georgia Tech

It was not as big as last season, but there remains a coaching turnover at Alabama. 

After seeing Michael Locksley accept a head coaching job at Maryland, offensive line coach Brent Key is next to leave Nick Saban’s staff as he is reportedly joining Georgia Tech – following the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on next Monday. 

News broke on Thursday via the Atlanta-Journal Constitution on the 40-year-old native of Birmingham, Ala., returning to help his Alma mater: The Yellow Jackets.

Like he did with the Crimson Tide, Key will be in charge of running the offensive line for Georgia Tech, but he may also garner the title of “associate head coach.”

The product of Hewitt-Trussville High School attended Georgia Tech and played right guard from 1997 to 2000. His first coaching opportunity came as a graduate assistant for the Yellow Jackets under George O’Leary from 2001 to 2002. 

Key would then follow O’Leary to University of Central Florida, where he served 11 seasons (2005-15) as offensive line coach, tight ends’ ends, recruiting coordinator, special teams’ coach, associate head coach and offensive coordinator. He was hired to Alabama in 2016 as offensive line coach and produced an Outland Trophy winner in Cam Robinson. In three years with Key, the Tide’s front line cleared the way for an average of 41.2 points and 475.2 yards offensively. 

This season, Alabama ranks second in college football in scoring offense (47.7 ppg) and fourth in total offense (528 ypg). Under Key’s guidance, the offensive line protected sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to account for 3,671 passing yards with 41 touchdowns to four interceptions – en route to him being a Heisman Trophy finalist and consensus All-American. 

Along with being a solid coach, Key is an exceptional recruiter. 

He was firmly behind the Tide landing Pierce Quick, Tanner Bowles, Amari Kight, Evan Neal and Darian Dalcourt, to possesses arguably the best offensive line class in the nation for 2019. 

Key has been a part of two Southeastern Conference championships (2016, 2018) and a CFP national title in 2017; however, he eyes one final national championship before making the move to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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