Fully recovered from last season’s knee injury that resulted in missing the final eight games, Utah State senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton enters the 2014 campaign primed to showcase his talents as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation.
Despite missing over half of his junior year due to injury, Keeton is listed among the elite names in college football entering the 2014 season, as he is one of 25 players named to the first edition of the Heismanpundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Trophy Watch List; one of 17 players named to the Bleacher Report's Initial H eisman Trophy Watch List; one of 50 players named to the Walter Camp Player of the Year Watch List; one of 39 players named to the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award Watch List; one of 77 players named to the Maxwell Award Watch List; one of 40 players named to the College Football Performance Awards Quarterbacks Watch List; and one of 182 players nominated for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.
His numbers back up all of his preseason accolades, as Keeton ranks first all-time in school history in career completion percentage (.665), second in career touchdown passes (56) and career completions (517), third in total offense for a career (7,114 yards), sixth in career passing yards (5,961), seventh in career passing attempts (777) and 22nd in career rushing yards (1,153).
In just 28 career collegiate games, Keeton ranks among the top 12 Football Bowl Subdivision active quarterbacks in the following 12 categories:
Five games into his junior season, Keeton was regarded as one of the top 10 Heisman Trophy Candidates by CBSSports.com as he ranked second in the nation with 17 touchdown passes, while also ranking first in the Mountain West (MW) and second in the nation in points responsible for (22.8 pg), second in the MW and 22nd in the nation in passing efficiency (161.6), third in the MW and eighth in the nation in completions (26.4 pg), third in the MW and 11th in the nation in completion percentage (.710), third in the MW and 18th in the nation in total offense (317.2 ypg), and fourth in the MW and 25th in the nation in passing (272.4 ypg). Keeton also tied the school record with five touchdown passes in a game twice during his junior year, doing so in a 52-20 win at Air Force and again in a 70-6 home win against Weber State.
Overall, Keeton completed 136-of-196 passes for 1,388 yards (231.3 ypg) with 18 touchdowns and just two interceptions in just five-plus games as a junior, while rushing for another 241 yards on 55 carries (40.2 ypg/4.4 ypc) with two more scores. Overall, that completion percentage of 69.4 percent broke his own single-season school record set in 2012, while his 18 touchdown passes rank tied for ninth all-time in school history.
As Utah State’s starting quarterback as a sophomore in 2012, Keeton led the Aggies to just its second-ever bowl win, just its third back-to-back bowl appearances, the most wins in a single-season in school history with 11 and a national ranking of No. 16 in the country in the final Associated Press poll.
During his sophomore season, Keeton earned first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors as he led Utah State to its first outright conference championship since 1936. For the year, Keeton ranked third in the WAC and 17th nationally in total offense with 307.1 yards per game, second in the WAC and 18th in the nation with a passing efficiency rating of 154.7, third in the WAC and 29th nationally with 259.5 passing yards per game and eighth in the WAC with 47.6 rushing yards per game.
Keeton finished his sophomore year completing 275-of-407 passes for 3,373 yards with 27 touchdowns and only nine interceptions, while rushing for 619 yards on 129 carries with eight more touchdowns. He also tied the single-game school record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 121 yards on a career-high tying 17 carries in a 48-41 overtime win at No. 19 Louisiana Tech.
During his sophomore season, Keeton threw at least two touchdown passes in 10 of his 13 games, including a season-high four against UNLV, as he passed for a career-high 404 yards against the Rebels. Overall, Keeton threw for at least 300 yards five times during the season, including three times in his final five games.
In 2012, Keeton set single-season school records with 27 touchdown passes, 3,372 passing yards, 3,992 yards of total offense, 275 completions and a completion percentage of 67.6 percent. He was also named the WAC's Offensive Player of the Week four times during the 2012 season, becoming the first player in school history to accomplish that feat and the first WAC player to earn four player of the week honors in a single season since 2010.
Keeton started his first collegiate game as a true freshman as Utah State opened the 2011 season at defending National Champion Auburn, losing 42-38, after leading for the majority of the game. Against the Tigers, Keeton rushed for two touchdowns and was named the National Freshman of the Week by Rivals.com.
During his freshman season, Keeton started the first eight games before missing the next five due to injury and finished the year throwing for 1,200 yards on 106-of-174 passing (.609) with 11 touchdowns with just two interceptions as he was the last FBS starting quarterback to throw a pick, throwing 149-straight passes without an interception. He also rushed for 293 yards and four touchdowns on 68 attempts.
Keeton also earned WAC Offensive Player of the Week honors and was named an honorable mention national Quarterback of the Week by College Football Performance Awards as a freshman as he threw for a season-high 228 yards and tied a school record with five touchdowns passes in a 63-19 win against Wyoming.
With Keeton under center, Utah State is poised to build on its recent run of success that has led to 25 wins in its last 33 games, as Aggie Football is one of just nine programs in the nation to win 20-plus games and record two bowl wins in the last two seasons along with Central Florida, Clemson, Florida State, Louisville, Michigan State, Oregon, Texas A&M and South Carolina.
As one of the most complete quarterbacks in the nation, Utah State’s Chuckie Keeton is definitely a player to keep your eye on during the 2014 season.