USU quarterback Chuckie Keeton is humbled by the fact three students from the University of Miami chose to recognize him for their class project.
The trio — senior Melody Cheikhali, senior Jennifer Ramirez and junior Jennifer Locey — are taking a sports information management class and were assigned a project where they had to create a Heisman Trophy campaign.
One of the rules of the project was they couldn’t select a player from their school. So, they turned to the Internet.
“One of my group members did a Google search on some watch lists of great college football players and we stumbled upon Chuckie!” Cheikhali wrote in a direct Twitter message to The Herald Journal. “We really liked what we read about him and he seemed like the perfect choice for our hypothetical campaign.”
The trio set up a Twitter account, @Chuckie4Heisman, which features a couple of highlight videos of Keeton.
“It’s something that’s exciting,” said Keeton, when asked about being recognized by the Miami trio. “As a kid, you always want to hear your name in that type of conversation. At the same time, it’s just conversation right now.
“I still have to play, and I still have got another season to work toward that goal. It’s an exciting thing to think about.”
Keeton chatted with Cheikhali, Ramirez and Locey on Wednesday, saying the fact they chose him was “amazing to me.”
“But, it’s a great thing, and I thank them for giving me a little bit of publicity,” Keeton added.
What did the Miami trio think of Keeton after visiting with him?
“We found him to be extremely humble, dedicated to his team and a great candidate for the Heisman Trophy,” Cheikahli said. “We really enjoyed getting to know him. Such a funny guy, too.”
Earlier this week, Keeton was named the 2012 Collegiate Male Athlete of the Year during the second annual Utah Governor’s State of Sport Awards held at the Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City.
Keeton, who was one of six nominees for the award, was selected over former Utah football players Reggie Dunn and Star Lotulelei, former Utah Valley baseball player Goose Kallunki, former Southern Utah track athlete Cameron Levins, and former Weber State basketball player and current Portland Trailblazer rookie Damian Lillard.
“It shows what an incredible player he is,” USU linebacker Kyler Fackrell said. “He’s the key to our offense, and you might even say to the team. He’s a big leader, even being so young.”
Keeton, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound quarterback from Houston, earned first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors as a sophomore after ranking 17th nationally in total offense (307.1 yards per game), 18th in passing efficiency (154.7) and 29th in passing (259.5 ypg).
During the 2012 campaign, Keeton set single-season school records for touchdown passes (27), passing yards (3,373), completions (275) and completion percentage (.676), while setting the single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 121 yards at Louisiana Tech.
USU head coach Matt Wells said Keeton deserves everything that comes his way, no matter what it is, including what the Miami trio did for him for their school project.
“Chuckie has earned every right to be included in preseason campaigns, polls and watch lists for every award a quarterback can be,” Wells said. “He’s earned that right based on his play for the last two years. He’s earned it by his win-loss record as a quarterback, he’s earned it by his stats, his leadership — everything he does for our program inside the building and outside the building.
“He’s earned every right to be included in every category that anybody wants to talk about in the country.”