Sports Zone Feature: Thakarius “BoPete” Keyes

Sports Zone

LAUREL, Miss. (WJTV) — Laurel standout Thakarius “BoPete” Keyes was drafted 237th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Keyes said he figured he would go as an undrafted free agent because it had gotten so late.

“I was going to fix some food and my phone started vibrating and ringing,” said Keyes. “I look down and it was a number — because people had been calling me like before the draft all day, and I was like man stop calling me. I was waiting on one call and when I got the call, I sat down for a second and I answered it and it was [Andy Reid] letting me know that he was ready to turn my name in and welcome me the Chiefs and at that moment my stomach dropped and I just started smiling.”

“When I saw [my name] go across the screen, every time I see it I just start smiling and that’s the first thing that I can do. It just makes me more humble and ready to get to work.”

At Tulane, Keyes racked up 95 tackles and 2 interceptions earning All-American Athletic Conference honorable mention.

“I hope to bring a lot of energy and an immediate impact. I want to be a player they can depend on most of the time to make big plays.”

Keyes, who prefers to go by his nickname “BoPete,” says the name was given to him as a child by his grandmother.

“So many people call me that when I was smaller and I felt like it they started calling me my real name, people would like ‘who… who is that?”

According to his bio on, Keyes did not start playing football until his junior year at Laurel. Basketball was his first love, helping lead the Golden Tornadoes to a 27-5 overall record and a state title as a senior.

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