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USU football: Catching up with Chuckie Keeton

Published April 3, 2017 8:33 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Former Utah State star quarterback Chuckie Keeton made a visit to campus last week for USU's Pro Day in Logan. While he was not there to audition for NFL scouts, Keeton did end up serving as quarterback for the position-specific drills. He threw to receivers and running backs as well as defensive backs during the workout.

Keeton graduated after a record-setting yet injury-plagued career. He ranks first all-time in program history in touchdown passes (62) and total offense (8,808 yards), second in completions (672) and passing yards (7,393) and tied for second in completion percentage (62.9). A dual-threat quarterback, he tied for 11th in rushing touchdowns (16) and 14th in rushing yards (1,415) — both the best marks all-time by a USU quarterback.

Keeton accumulated those statistics in 38 games (35 starts). As a true freshman in 2011, Keeton started his collegiate carer by leading the Aggies to a near upset of defending national champion Auburn. By the end of his sophomore season, he'd become a first-team all-conference quarterback. He threw for 3,373 yards and 27 touchdown passes and just nine interceptions that season while rushing for 619 yards and eight touchdowns. He set single-season program records for touchdown passes, passing yards, completions (275), completion percentage (67.6) and total offense (3.992 yards).

A serious knee injury suffered against BYU cut short his junior season. He underwent surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Through five games, he ranked second in NCAA Football Championship Subdivision with 17 touchdown passes, 22nd in passing efficiency (161.6), 11th in completion percentage (71.0), 18th in total offense (317.2 yards per game) and 25th in passing yards per game (272.4).

He played just two and a half games in 2014 before suffering another injury to his surgically-repaired left knee. As a redshirt senior in 2015, he completed 104-of-199 passes (.523) for 1,006 yards with four touchdowns, and he rushed for 181 yards on 50 carries with one touchdown.

Keeton continued "chasing" the dream of playing professionally last offseason when he spent rookie mini-camp with the Houston Texans.

After not making an NFL team, he reached out to both former USU coach and current Oregon State coach Gary Andersen and current USU coach Matt Wells about being a graduate assistant. Keeton worked a satellite camp for OSU in Texas before he joined the OSU staff as a quality control assistant working with the quarterbacks.

Keeton on what brought him out for Pro Day:

"Whenever I signed up to play here and all that, I took on the burden of having these guys as my brothers forever. So it's my first year not playing football competitively, and I really just came up to watch them do Pro Day. It's my first year back. It's kind of like something off my shoulders, and it's our spring break. I just wanted to come support my guys. Then one of the guys called me and was like, 'Hey are you doing Pro Day Again?' Thinking that I was going just going to keep chasing. I was like, 'No, but I'll be up there.' Then I kind of just got suckered into throwing. Me being me, I'm still going to stay competitive so I just tried to put everything I had into it."

On how the adjustment from player to full-time coach has gone, particularly after a mini-camp stint just this past year with the Texans:

"The first year away it was a little bit different. It was the first time I haven't had the tag of current quarterback, so it's a little bit different, but I'm into coaching now at Oregon State. It's been a lot of fun, not only seeing some guys grow but allowing them to kind of see their own potential and try and elevate their own game. That was a lot of fun. It's been a little bit sad. Thankfully, I was able to be on scout team a little bit this last year. I was in a unique position — still balled out there — so that was that. Texans camp was a lot of fun. I did very well out there. I tried to put everything on the field. I definitely took a lot of things back from that experience and try and put them back into my guys that I have now."

On his role with Oregon State staff:

"I'm working with the quarterbacks. I try to take a lot of pride in it. I'm also working under Kevin McGiven, who was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach here. He gave a lot to me so I'm trying to help him out and give back to him as well."

On his health when he went into mini-camp:

"I was definitely 100 percent at that time. I definitely played like I was 100 percent, more than back to the original me that people [saw]. It was amazing, and on top of that being able to take kind of a full year off — still working out and all that just for my own benefit — I feel amazing. Like I said, I was able to be on scout team a little bit. I kind of wanted to show the Oregon State defense that we had last year a little bit of what we used to do at Utah State. Hopefully, I left a lasting impression."

On whether playing is fully out of his system:

"Yes and no. It's not necessarily that I'm still chasing after it. If something happens, I'll make an intelligent decision one way or another. Being able to come out here and compete just in any aspect of any sport or in life, I'm always going to take a shot at it. It's hard to put it away whenever you throw the ball pretty well. At the same time, I haven't been training for it. I felt really good. Like I told coach Well, a lot of the stuff I tried to do today was just kind of reiterating the stuff I've been telling my guys at Oregon State. Kind of trying to lead by example."

On whether coaching is something he sees as a long-term possibility:

"Most definitely. I've always told myself, and I've talked to my family about it, at the end of the day people get degrees to be a journalist or something like that. I've always wanted to be a coach at one point. It's something that's in my blood. It's always going to be something that stays with me. One way or another, I'll wind up hopefully working up that ladder."






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