Eddie Flowers knows the drill. He waits for his two sons to change out of their practice gear in his car in the Archbishop Spalding parking lot. They exit the locker room, trot to the car and assume their seats — Keyshawn Flowers in the front and Keion Flowers in the back.
Eddie Flowers doesn’t recall how his sons decided who gets to sit up front. But the rules are the rules.
“They kind of are cemented into [those seats],” Eddie Flowers said. “I think Keyshawn likes to sit up there because his legs are longer, so he can put the seat all the way back.”
Keyshawn Flowers’ long limbs are part of the reason he received 27 Division I football offers from the likes of Alabama, USC and Notre Dame. But the three-star linebacker chose to stay home, remain close to friends and family and keep doing what he’s done his whole life: share the field with his twin brother, Keion Flowers.
The pair announced their commitments to Maryland football on June 30, Keion as a preferred walk-on and Keyshawn Flowers as a scholarship player. Their announcements came just 66 minutes apart. While it wasn’t as close as their one-minute age difference, they always knew their destiny. Even in middle school, the twins told their mother Celena Flowers they would go to college together.
“We’ve been playing together our whole life,” Keyshawn Flowers said. “We did it together.”
After a dominant junior season where he recorded 81 tackles, five sacks, 11 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles, Keyshawn Flowers earned Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A All-Conference honors and burst onto the national recruiting scene. College coaches blew up his phone, making it hard to decide which calls to take.
Meanwhile, Keion Flowers was hoping for just one.
So, the Flowers family made sure every college coach knew the twins were a package deal. The pair went on every official visit together.
“I see two brothers who are happy for each other, who hurt for each other when things aren’t going well,” Spalding coach Kyle Schmitt said. “Those two dudes are really all in on each other’s lives and their future.”
When Eddie Flowers drops his twins off at practice, he shares a simple message: “This is another day you have to get better.”
The father told his sons early that if they wanted to fulfill their dream together, they would need to dedicate themselves to football.
One of their first football coaches introduced the twins to wrestling — a sport both excelled in. They won county championships three years in a row. Keyshawn Flowers was a state champion and Keion Flowers finished third in the state at age 10.
But Eddie Flowers said the sport served a singular purpose: Enhancing their football skills.
Wrestling has similarities to football, Keyshawn Flowers said, especially in tackling. Three years of wrestling helped them gain the toughness and competitive edge needed on the football field.
After turning their attention to football, the twins performed agility drills at a local park and in front of their house. Eddie Flowers would even search up YouTube linebacker drills to help hone their techniques.
The training started to pay off, Eddie Flowers said. Private school coaches in the area took notice and inquired about the twins’ interest in playing high school football.
Schmitt met the Flowers brothers during their time at Old Mill Youth Association, a feeder program for many Spalding players. He followed the pair during their eighth grade seasons and got to know the family.
The twins played in three junior varsity games in an pandemic-shortened freshman season. Keyshawn Flowers was the best player on the field, Schmitt said, and would have been promoted to varsity if not for the unusual circumstances.
In Keyshawn Flowers’ first varsity season, he was stuck behind current Terps linebacker Kellan Wyatt on the depth chart. A lingering hamstring injury also hampered his playing time.
After a summer of healing and physical development, Keyshawn Flowers returned as a new player for his junior year. He was ready to dominate his competition.
Soon after the Flowers twins enrolled at Spalding, pandemic lockdowns began. Schmitt held team-wide and position-specific Zoom meetings to keep his team connected. Keion and Keyshawn Flowers attended each one.
The pair was nearly inseparable once they got on campus in the fall, Schmitt said.
“They definitely had that twin thing where I think they know what each other’s thinking,” Schmitt said.
The same was true when Keion and Keyshawn Flowers were younger. They dressed alike, voluntarily shared the same bedroom and were in a similar group of friends. The Flowers house was also the designated sleepover home.
“The boys never went and spent a night really at anybody’s house,” Celena Flowers said. “My mother used to always say ‘You guys need to put some of those guys on your taxes, because they practically live with you guys.’”
One day, Celena Flowers saw Keion Flowers walk through the door after a workout on the grassy field near their home.
“What are you doing out there running?” she asked the then-sophomore.
“I gotta get it together,” he responded. “I’ll be moving to varsity next year.”
Keion Flowers watched his twin brother get promoted to varsity as a sophomore. While he initially made varsity, Keion Flowers chose to stay with the junior varsity squad for extra playing time. That marked the first time the twins played apart from one another.
After making varsity as a junior, Keion Flowers rode the bench behind two seniors.
“Just seeing them at the varsity level and just watching them from the sideline, it really made me put into perspective how much I gotta work hard to get up there and actually start at the varsity level,” Keion Flowers said. “I knew I had to start working now. And even if that was on my own, I had to put in work every day.”
Late in his junior season, Keion Flowers finally got his chance. The Cavaliers had multiple starters out due to illness or injury. That vaulted Keion Flowers into a starting role. He collected multiple sacks in a 35-21 win against Mount St. Joseph’s.
Then, the starters returned. Keion Flowers went back to the bench. He didn’t play a single snap in Spalding’s conference championship win over Calvert Hall.
During his senior year training camp, Keion Flowers stood in front of Spalding’s players and coaches to partake in “hero, highlight, heartache” — a team tradition where players open up to their teammates as a new season approaches. For his heartache, Keion Flowers thought back to an unforgettable moment: riding the bench in the championship game.
“It was frustrating,” Keion Flowers said. “I just couldn’t wait for my time to come.”
He became a full-time starter in his senior year. That’s when Eddie Flowers devised a gameplan for his son.
“Your brother’s gonna be seeing a lot of double teams this year,” he told him. “You gotta be ready to come down and fill those gaps. When he’s getting doubled, you gotta be the man to step up.”
The first few games vindicated Eddie Flowers.
“I knew he would,” he said. “I knew it.”
The father noticed Keion Flowers’ social media following increase. College coaches and recruiters followed him. His Hudl highlight packages garnered more attention. He was finally starting to get the recognition he worked so hard for.
That season, Keion Flowers captained the Cavaliers defense alongside his twin brother. The team claimed back-to-back conference championships.
This time, Keion Flowers was on the field to experience it.
Some college coaches were “lukewarm” on taking both brothers, Schmitt said. But Maryland coach Michael Locksley made it clear to the Flowers family that he wouldn’t leave Keion Flowers behind.
“We want them both,” Locksley told Eddie Flowers.
Maryland football staff went to Spalding last spring to watch Keion Flowers practice. They watched his tape from the end of his junior season and brought him to campus for a visit. Locksley didn’t just recruit Keion as Keyshawn Flowers’ brother, Schmitt said, which the Flowers family appreciated.
During the recruiting process, Schmitt didn’t sense any jealousy or animosity between the twins. Rather, he saw two brothers with unconditional love for one another.
“Keyshawn made a decision for his family and his brother, too,” Schmitt said. “I think they felt like it was best to be in College Park together.”
CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story misstated that Keyshawn Flowers initially made varsity as a sophomore and chose to stay on junior varsity. Keion Flowers made varsity and stayed on junior varsity for a year. This story has been updated.