Assistant Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line
Assistant Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line
Brent Key, a Georgia Tech alumnus and football letterwinner, is in his second season as the Yellow Jackets’ assistant head coach, run game coordinator and offensive line coach. In Key’s first season at his alma mater, Georgia Tech’s run game produced an all-ACC selection in RB Jordan Mason and Key mentored an all-conference honoree in OL Jack DeFoor.
Key returned to Georgia Tech after three seasons as offensive line coach at Alabama (2016-18), where he helped lead the Crimson Tide to two Southeastern Conference championships, three College Football Playoff championship games and the 2017 national title. His coaching resume also includes a successful 11-year stint at UCF, where he helped lead the Knights to four conference championships and eight bowl appearances, one season as an assistant coach at Western Carolina and two seasons as a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech. At each of his four stops, he has worked with Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins. In addition to his reputation as a top-notch coach, he is also widely regarded as one of the nation’s top recruiters.
Key was a four-year starter at guard for the Yellow Jackets from 1997-2000. He was a team captain and all-ACC performer as a senior and graduated from Tech in 2001 with a management degree. He and his wife, Danielle, have a daughter, Harper.
|THE BRENT KEY FILE|
|Alma Mater||Georgia Tech, 2001|
|2001-02||Georgia Tech||Graduate Assistant|
|2004||Western Carolina||Tight Ends/Running Backs|
|2007||UCF||Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator|
|2008||UCF||Tight Ends/Special Teams Coordinator|
|2010-11||UCF||Offensive Line/Recruiting Coordinator|
|2012-13||UCF||Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line/Recruiting Coordinator|
|2014||UCF||Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line/Recruiting Coordinator|
|2015||UCF||Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs|
|2019-||Georgia Tech||Assistant Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line|
Brent Key, a Georgia Tech alumnus and football letterwinner, returned to The Flats in 2019 as the Yellow Jackets’ assistant head coach, run game coordinator and offensive line coach.
In Key’s first season at his alma mater, Georgia Tech’s run game produced an all-ACC selection in RB Jordan Mason and Key mentored an all-conference honoree in OL Jack DeFoor.
Despite a multitude of injuries, the Jackets’ offensive line improved throughout the season as it went through the monumental transition from an option-based scheme to a pro-style, spread attack. During a one late-season three-game stretch, Tech faced teams that ranked first (Pitt), fourth (Miami) and eighth (Virginia) nationally in sacks. Tech’s offensive front allowed just five total sacks in those three games, including none against eventual ACC Coastal Division champion Virginia. In all, the Jackets didn’t surrender a sack in two of its final four contests.
Key came back to his alma mater after three seasons as offensive line coach at Alabama (2016-18), where he helped lead the Crimson Tide to two Southeastern Conference championships, three College Football Playoff championship games and the 2017 national title.
As a four-year starting right guard at Georgia Tech from 1997-2000, he was a key cog in an offensive front that helped the Yellow Jackets lead the Atlantic Coast Conference in rushing three times. During Key’s junior campaign in 1999, the Jackets ranked No. 1 nationally in total offense (509.0 ypg).
In each of his three seasons at Alabama, Key’s offensive lines were finalists for the Joe Moore Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top offensive front, and was the only group in the nation to receive the honor all three seasons. He also coached four All-Americans (including two unanimous picks – tackle Cam Robinson in 2016 and tackle Jonah Williams in 2018) and nine all-SEC selections (including seven first-teamers) during his time with the Tide. In addition to being unanimous All-Americans, Robinson won the 2016 Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman and Williams was a finalist for the award in ’18. They also won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy (SEC’s top offensive lineman) in ‘16 and ‘18, respectively.
Five linemen that Key coached in his three seasons at Alabama went on to be selected in the National Football League Draft — Jedrick Wills (No. 10 overall, Cleveland Browns, 2020), Williams (No. 11 overall, Cincinnati Bengals, 2019), Robinson (No. 34 overall, Jacksonville Jaguars, 2017), center Ross Pierschbacher (fifth round, Washington Redskins, 2019) and center Bradley Bozeman (sixth round, Baltimore Ravens, 2018).
Key was also lauded for his work on the recruiting trail at Alabama. He is tabbed as the nation’s No. 2 recruiter by 247Sports for his work in landing the Crimson Tide’s 2019 class and the No. 1 recruiter in the nation for his efforts with the 2020 class.
Prior to his three-year stint at Alabama, Key spent 11 seasons at UCF (2005-15). He started at UCF as a graduate assistant and worked his way up to assistant head coach (2012-15) and offensive coordinator (2014-15). He also coached tight ends for three seasons (2006-08), offensive line for six seasons (2009-14), running backs for one season (2015), was special teams coordinator for one season (2008) and recruiting coordinator for six seasons (2007, 2010-14) with the Knights. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, Key was nominated for the Broyles Award, given to the top assistant coach in college football.
During Key’s 11 seasons at UCF, the Knights won four conference championships (2007, 2010, 2013 and 2014), highlighted by a 12-1 campaign in 2013, which culminated with a 52-42 win over No. 6 Baylor. The Knights beat two top-10 teams in ’13 (Baylor and No. 8 Louisville) and Key’s offensive front, which did not allow a sack against Penn State, Louisville, UConn or Baylor, helped pave the way for UCF to average 441.5 yards and 34.6 points per game, both among the highest marks in program history. His offensive line also provided protection for American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year Blake Bortles.
In his six seasons as UCF’s offensive line coach, eight different linemen earned all-conference recognition a total of 16 times and four went on to play in the NFL, including 2011 third-round draft pick Jah Reid. He also coached an NFL draft pick at tight end in Mike Merritt (2008).
During his time at UCF, Key coached under his head coach as a student-athlete at Georgia Tech, George O’Leary. He also worked on the same staff as Collins, who was the Knights’ linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator in 2008-09, and worked under current Georgia Tech director of athletics Todd Stansbury, who was UCF’s A.D. from 2012-15.
Key got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech in 2001-02 and served as tight ends and running backs coach at Western Carolina in 2004 (when Collins was WCU’s defensive coordinator).
While making 44 starts at right guard for the Yellow Jackets from 1997-2000, Key was part of a senior class that led Georgia Tech to four-straight bowl appearances for the first time since 1953-56. As a sophomore in 1998, he helped lead Tech to a 10-2 record and a share of the ACC championship. He was voted a team captain and named all-ACC as a senior in 2000. Collins was a graduate assistant on Georgia Tech’s staff during Key’s junior and senior seasons and, when Collins was promoted to tight ends coach in 2001, Key filled the G.A. spot that Collins vacated.
Key earned a bachelor’s degree in management from GT in 2001.
A Clay, Ala. native, Key, 42, was an all-state performer at Hewitt-Trussville H.S. He and his wife, Danielle, are parents to a daughter, Harper.