BATON ROUGE, La. — When LSU defensive end Arden Key wants us to know what he’s up to, he will let us know. Just ask his high school coach.
Key’s unexpected leave of absence from LSU football last week has fueled plenty of speculation, but from the Tigers’ perspective, that is none of anyone’s business.
“It’s a personal issue, and that’s all we’re going to say,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron reiterated this week on the Tiger Rag Podcast. Orgeron also expects Key to be back on campus by August camp and ready for the 2017 season, quelling any panic that might be present in the fan base.
The circle of people who have talked to Key about his situation is not very big. Even Key’s high school coach, Winston Gordon, has not spoken to him since LSU announced the departure.
Gordon, who coached Key at Atlanta’s Hapeville Charter Academy, said he was out of town at a coaching clinic and then a funeral last week, so he’s been in the dark as much as anyone else.
“A couple people have reached out to me asking about him,” Gordon said. “But I haven’t had a chance to speak with him.”
Gordon noted that his relationship with Key is good enough that if something were “very serious” he likely would have heard from his former player by now.
“When he wants to talk, he’ll talk. I don’t want to speculate. I don’t know the situation,” Gordon said. “But he’s a good friend and I’m pretty sure we’ll talk about everything when he’s ready.”
Gordon said this is the approach he usually takes with his players.
“I speak to him quite often. I just haven’t had a chance to reach out to him,” Gordon says. “When stuff like that goes down, you kind of let them reach out to you.
“He’s a great kid and great individual. He’s done nothing but great things for LSU and for this school. When he’s ready, he’ll call me. He always does.”