A pair of quarterbacks from the state of Utah are receiving some early Heisman hype.
Utah State senior Chuckie Keeton and BYU junior Taysom Hill were named to the 25-man post-spring 2014 HeismanPundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Trophy Watch List released Tuesday. The watch list is complied by Chris Huston, a Heisman voter.
Highlighting the watch list is last year's winner, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. There are also five Pac-12 players on the list, including UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, USC running back Javorius Allen, Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion and a pair of Oregon players, quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back Thomas Tyner.
There are 15 quarterbacks on the watch list. Keeton is the lone Mountain West Conference representative, while Hill is one of two independents on the list, the other being Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson.
Before suffering a season-ending knee injury against BYU in early October last year, the dual-threat Keeton completed 69.4 percent of his passes for 1,388 yards, 18 touchdowns and two interceptions while also running for 241 yards and two more scores. His completion percentage broke the school single-season record.
Keeton was recently cleared for action and is expected to regain his starting position after freshman Darell Garretson filled in last year and led the Aggies to a 9-5 record and Poinsettia Bowl victory.
Hill is coming off a successful sophomore season, his first as the Cougars' full-time starter. In 2013, he threw for 2,938 yards, 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, but Hill did his greatest damage on the ground, rushing for a team-leading 1,344 yards and 10 touchdowns. His rushing yardage total last year was the third-best in BYU history and Hill is already the career leader among Cougar quarterbacks in rushing yards.
In perhaps a sign of what's to come next season, Hill threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns in the Cougars' spring game as he was awarded an unusually high amount of spring-game work for a starter.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @brandonljudd