Chuckie Keeton poised for big year for Utah State

LAS VEGAS (ABC 4 Sports) - 2013 was a good year for the Utah State football team. The Aggies won nine games, earned a berth in the inagural Mountain West Championship Game and beat 24th-ranked Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl. 

Imagine how the Aggies would have done with quarterback Chuckie Keeton for the full season.

Keeton injured his knee against BYU and missed the final eight games of the year.

"The thing that I continue to say," said head coach Matt Wells "His mind wasn't hurt, and his arm wasn't hurt. And those are two valuable weapons that man has besides his legs."

Keeton was named the Mountain West Preseason Offensive Player of the Year on Tuesday. He's also on six preseason watch lists, two for the Heisman Trophy. That, despite playing in just six games a junior. 

"As soon as I got hurt [against BYU], I did a lot of yelling on the ground,"Keeton said. "I got to the sideline, they sat me on the bench, I laid down for a second, said a quick prayer, I wasn't even hurting that bad afterwards. About five minutes worth of pain, a little bit of swelling, and a new me."

Keeton was relegated to the sidelines for the rest of the year, leaving the Aggies without a quarter who is ranked in the top ten nationally in six statistical categories for his career. 

"Initially it was frustrating, because I wasn't able to share the success on the field with my teammates," Keeton said. "But it was amazing because we had that success."

In 2014, Utah State is banking on having success with Keeton. The Aggies have already started a Heisman Trophy campaign for its dual-threat quarterback, who says he is finally 100 percent healthy. 

"I feel great," Keeton said. "I feel amazing right now. I'm just happy to be in this situation and I'm really looking forward to getting back on the field and competing with my teammates again."

"Any individual awards or accolades that come at the end of the year will be well-deserved." said Wells. "But they will be done within a team concept and a team atmosphere. And that's what I'm most proud of, to see Chuckie be a great teammate."

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