Williston-Elko High football coach Derek Youngblood knows he will get Keshawn Toney’s best effort, not matter the situation.
It was at a Williston-Elko football camp last year where Blue Devils varsity players were working with young kids. While some might have used the opportunity to go through the motions and not work hard, Toney was there to pass on his knowledge and expertise to the young campers.
“He got in the group and worked, took a lot of ownership. Then after, he stayed later and took pictures with the kids,” Youngblood said. “All about trying to make it better. He holds people accountable. He is quiet guy but he doesn’t put up with a lot of going through the motions kind of stuff. When he speaks, people listen. People see him working hard.
“We had some good ones here, guys like Rokeem Williams and others. And he is one of them. He has worked for everything he has got.”
That hard work paid for Toney in March when he committed to South Carolina. He grew up a Gamecock fan and went to many games, watching the likes of Alshon Jeffrey and Marcus Lattimore.
So when Will Muschamp offered him a scholarship on an unofficial visit, he committed a day later.
“It was home,” Toney said of South Carolina. “Went to a lot of games growing up, so I knew I was going to go there. I used to be in the stands watching Marcus Lattimore play and now I am shaking his hand when I was on my visit.”
Toney plans to sign in December and enroll early at USC. His early enrollment means he won’t be playing basketball his senior year.
The two-sport standout was a two-time all-state basketball player for Williston-Elko the past two seasons and averaged 12.2 points and 8.9 rebounds last year. Youngblood said Toney was more of a hoops player when he first started high school, but that changed midway through his freshman season.
Toney started putting in extra work, going to camps and his body continued to develop. He is listed at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds and runs a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash.
Toney was a force on both sides of the ball for W-E, which went 9-3 last season. It was hard to get Toney off the field, Youngblood said, playing at defensive end and tight end. Even though he is listed as a tight end, he split out as a receiver.
Toney finished with 52 catches for 677 yards and seven touchdowns and has more than 1,500 yards in his career.
“He said, 'I’m going to play wideout and he went out and did it,' ” Youngblood said. “He is good on quick routes and mesh routes for the next level. He has a great understanding at what it takes to get open.”
USC recruited Toney as a tight end and he said the coaching staff might play him some in an H-back role as well.
“It is going to be interesting to see what he looks like once he gets on campus and gets in strength program and eating right,” Youngblood said. “He is massive. He can be 255 pounds, with no problem whatsoever. He is the total package and can play on and off the line.”