"It was definitely exciting to get started," Keeton said after the first day of fall camp. "It was one of those things where you kind of dread the summer just because you know how long it is. But it's always the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."
There could be a lot of gold waiting for Keeton. Coming off the greatest season in Utah State history, in which he led the Aggies to an 11-2 record, a #17 national ranking and a victory in the Potato Bowl, Keeton knows he'll be under more pressure this year to perform.
"I really don't feel too much pressure," said Keeton, who threw for 3,373 yards and 27 touchdowns, and rushed for 619 yards and 8 scores last season. "I know the guys around me definitely have my back, not just from the offensive side of the ball, but also from the defense. What we have is a good team, but then again, it's only the first day and we have a long way to go."
Keeton isn't going to surprise anybody like he did last season. He is on several national watch lists, including the Heisman Trophy, the Manning Award, the Maxwell Award and the Davey O'Brien Award, all given to either the most outstanding player or quarterback in the country. But Keeton isn't getting caught up in all the hype.
"It's definitely an exciting thing, but I can't really look that far ahead," Keeton said. "It's one of those things that is at the end of the season, and it's all this work that really builds up to all that."
"We want to help him get that Heisman Trophy, and that starts in practice," cornerback back Quinton Byrd said. "Us competing, going back and forth with the receivers, that's what is going to help him get that trophy."
Keeton lost several weapons from last year's team, including running back Kerwynn Williams and wide receivers Chuck Jacobs and Matt Austin. But Keeton is the type of quarterback and leader that makes everybody around him better.
"Chuckie is a pretty humble guy," said wide receiver Travis Reynolds. "We try to keep him humbled and get his head focused as well. It should be an exciting year."
Keeton and the Aggies open the 2013 season August 29th against Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium.