Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Updated: August 23, 11:57 AM ET
Huskers on hold as Keller considers other options
ESPN.com news services
Former Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller, who according to sources had been preparing to enroll at Nebraska as early as this week, now apparently is considering other options as he searches for a new school.
Though two sources said Keller was preparing to enroll in Lincoln, his father, Mike, told ESPN's Joe Schad on Tuesday evening that he has spoken with Cornhuskers coach Bill Callahan, informing him that some new teams had entered the equation.
"Nebraska is excited about Sam and anybody would be excited to have him as a leader," Mike Keller said. "Bill runs a pro style offense, some call it West Coast, and they'd love to have somebody with Sam's experience come in. He's mature and would be working with young quarterbacks for a season. You know, I'm not trying to play games or play schools against one another, but I can't say it's finalized yet."
Mike Keller said that a new, though longshot, consideration would be to stay enrolled at Arizona State and redshirt, then be eligible to transfer and play at another school next season.
"This has all happened so fast," Mike Keller said. "Obviously, Sam was devastated. Now, we just have to stay calm and make sure we make the right decision."
Before Mike Keller weighed in with his son's current mindset, an official announcement of Sam Keller enrolling at Nebraska was expected Thursday. On Tuesday morning, Schad reported that Nebraska coaches had discussed Keller's pending arrival and that Nebraska's quarterbacks had been briefed on the decision.
Keller, who was named the Sun Devils' starting quarterback on Friday, only to lose the job to sophomore Rudy Carpenter two days later, had also considered transferring to Louisville or UTEP, not Colorado or Oklahoma, as reported elsewhere, a source said.
Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com reported earlier that Keller was told Monday by ASU coach Dirk Koetter that he would be released from his scholarship.
Mike Keller is a former professional football player and knows Callahan. Sam Keller would have one season of eligibility left and would succeed senior Zac Taylor as Nebraska's starting QB in 2007.
Keller, who started seven games for Arizona State last season before breaking his thumb, would have to sit out this coming season under NCAA transfer rules if he decides to leave the Sun Devils for another Division I-A program. He would have one season of eligibility remaining in 2007.
|Blue Ribbon preview: Nebraska
When the decision was made to hire Bill Callahan at Nebraska in 2004, school administrators knew they were breaking the mold of traditional ground-oriented coaches. They knew Callahan would build -- or attempt to build -- a competent passing game through the West Coast offense.
They also knew that Callahan was not going to bring in a typical college football coach's personality either. While he takes care of all media and alumni functions and will do what he can to raise funds, Callahan does not have a Bobby Bowden-type personality. He is not the kind to regale listeners with humorous stories. Callahan is all business.
To read more of Blue Ribbon's preview of Nebraska's chances in 2006, click here.
Keller was one of the top-rated passers in Division I-A in 2005 before he was hurt, completing 58 percent of his passes (155-for-264) for 2,165 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Carpenter rallied the Sun Devils to a 4-1 record in their last five games last season and was named MVP of Arizona State's 45-40 victory over Rutgers in the Insight Bowl. He led Division I-A in pass efficiency by completing 68 percent of his passes (156-for-228) for 2,273 yards with 17 touchdowns and only two interceptions.
The players were involved in one of the most intense position battles in college football during preseason camp. Koetter announced Keller would be the team's starting quarterback Friday, but then abruptly reversed his decision two days later after meeting with the school's athletic director and a group of team leaders.
"It's simple. I made a mistake on the quarterback situation and I'm changing my mind," Koetter said after Sunday's practice.
Keller, from Danville, Calif., would seem to be a perfect fit for Nebraska coach Bill Callahan's West Coast offense. Taylor is a senior, and highly regarded freshman Harrison Beck went AWOL during Nebraska's preseason camp and transferred to North Carolina State.
If Keller leaves Arizona State, the Sun Devils would have only one other scholarship quarterback on their roster: freshman Danny Sullivan.
Joe Schad covers college football for ESPN and Mark Schlabach writes for ESPN.com.