Highland Home 4-star defensive lineman commits to Florida State

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

During a commitment ceremony held inside the Highland Home gym on July 5, Keldric Faulk, a rising senior at Highland Home High School, announced that he would be attending Florida State College. Faulk is the son of the late Russell Eric Faulk and Lakendral Barnes.

Keldric said Florida State felt like home.

“I can see myself going to Florida State for the next three to four years of my life. I feel comfortable on the campus and with everything else. It’s been a weekly thing with me and Coach Tucker and Coach Woodson, we have built a really good relationship over time. I truly see myself going to that school for the next three to four years of my life. I believe them on that,” Keldric said.

FSU also won over Keldric’s mother, Lakendral Barnes.

“I feel really good about his choice. I told him to make his decision based on what makes him happy and to choose a college that made him feel at home. I would have been happy with any school he chose because I am so proud of him and his continuing education plans, but Florida State has been in contact with us since Keldric was in eighth grade. That continued communication made him feel wanted and needed on the team,” Barnes said.

Faulk received multiple offers that included bids from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, LSU, Michigan, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and others.

Faulk’s high school stats thus far include 82 tackles with 30 for loss, 11 sacks and six passes defended. Faulk is ranked No. 84 overall and the No. 9 defensive lineman in the nation. He’s also the No. 11 player within the state of Alabama for the 2023 recruiting class.

Many great and now renowned athletes got their start in Crenshaw County Schools. However, Faulk is one of the highest, if not the highest, recruited athletes from Crenshaw County. According to Highland Home head football coach Will Pouncey, it is Keldric’s well-rounded, high-quality content of character that will take him far.

“I’ve always said that Keldric will make millions of dollars and it may not be from football, but he will. He gives his all to anything that comes his way and approaches everything in the same manner, with a great attitude and a strong work ethic,” Pouncey said. “He makes good decisions in the classroom, on the football field, and everywhere he goes. With his disposition and his talent, he can go wherever he wants to go. I am sure we will be seeing him on TV on Sundays. He certainly has what it takes.”

Jonny Mitchell, head basketball coach at Highland Home, said that Keldric has influenced growth within the athletic program.

“He’s not just a good athlete, he’s a really great person. He’s also the hardest-working kid we’ve got. I know everybody tells you that, but he’s changed our athletic program, not just because of his talent, but because of his leadership and work ethic. He’s done as much as anybody to flip things here,” Mitchell said.

Faulk said that being from a small town does limit one’s potential but does provide a great support system.

“Everyone here has my back. You know, you’re going to have a lot of people who don’t like my decision; people who do like it. But, I feel like these people that came here today really support me and my decision and I know they will support me through my whole college and, hopefully, NFL career,” Keldric said.

Keldric encourages students from small towns to never let their origins limit their dreams and goals. He advised staying determined and working without end until you get where you want to be.

“I’m from a small town, from a single-parent household, and you see what I did,” Faulk said. “You can do it, too.”