FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Deciding where you’re going to college is exciting, but it can also be a kind of overwhelming. For student-athletes, they have to decide what school is going to give them the best chance to play and find success both on and off the field. On Saturday, one Mars Hill Bible football player officially made his decision.

Four-star center Koby Keenum announced Saturday his commitment to joining the Kentucky Wildcats football program.

Keenum had 55 schools recruiting him but narrowed it down to his top five last month which also included Louisville, North Carolina, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The Florence native is the number 3 ranked center in the class of 2023 and said staying in the SEC was a big deciding factor for him.

“I went through all of the pros and cons and there wasn’t hardly any cons. It’s somewhat close to home, the team atmosphere they had there was just awesome and Coach [Zach] Yenser has been in the NFL the past three seasons and I really think he’ll be able to develop me into the player I can be and I’m really looking forward to it. I grew up going to those SEC games and it’s an atmosphere I want to be in,” Keenum said.

Keenum is the first football player in Mars Hill Bible High School history to commit to a Power 5 program. He says it’s exciting to pave the way as he knows he won’t be the last.

“No matter where you are, you can make it wherever you want to, it, it’s all up to the player and how much work they want to put into it. There’s definitely some kids behind me that hopefully follow and become Power 5 as well, but it’s definitely a special feeling knowing I’m the first one,” Keenum said.

Keenum added that now with his decision made, he’s focused on helping the Panthers win the 3A state championship this fall.