Utah State football has 10 players named to Phil Steele’s 2014 Preseason All-Mountain West teams

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, June 3 2014 4:35 p.m. MDT

Updated: Tuesday, June 3 2014 4:35 p.m. MDT

Utah State Aggies quarterback Chuckie Keeton (16) throws against Utah during NCAA football in Salt Lake City Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. Utah won 30-26.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Enlarge photo»

LOGAN — Utah State football had 10 players named to Phil Steele’s 2014 Preseason all-Mountain West Conference teams it was announced Tuesday.

Three offensive players, five defensive players and two specialists were recognized for the Aggies.

Boise State had the most preseason selections with 16, while Colorado State had 12, and Utah State, Fresno State and Wyoming each had 10. Hawaii, Nevada and UNLV all had nine preseason selections, followed by Air Force 8, San Jose State 8, San Diego State 7 and New Mexico 4.

Senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton, senior safety Brian Suite, senior linebacker Zach Vigil, senior offensive tackle Kevin Whimpey and junior linebacker Kyler Fackrell were all named to the preseason all-Mountain West first-team.

Senior defensive end B.J. Larsen and junior punt returner JoJo Natson were both named to the second-team, and third-teamers include senior punter Jaron Bentrude, junior defensive end Jordan Nielsen and sophomore tight end Wyatt Houston.

Keeton, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound quarterback from Houston (Cypress Creek HS) was one of 30 players named to the first edition of the 2013 Heismanpundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Trophy Watch List as a junior a year ago, but played in just six games before suffering a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter against BYU on Oct. 4.

Prior to his injury, Keeton had completed 136-of-196 passes for 1,388 yards (231.3 ypg) with 18 touchdowns and just two interceptions, 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.

Through his first five games of the 2013 season, Keeton ranked second in the nation with 17 touchdown passes, while also ranking first in the Mountain West Conference and second in the nation in points responsible for (22.8 pg), second in the MWC and 22nd in the nation in passing efficiency (161.6), third in the MWC and eighth in the nation in completions (26.4), third in the MWC and 11th in the nation in completion percentage (.710), third in the MWC and 18th in the nation in total offense (317.2 ypg), and fourth in the MWC 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.

As a sophomore in 2012, Keeton earned first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors after ranking 17th nationally in total offense (307.1 ypg), 18th in passing efficiency (154.7) and 29th in passing (259.5 ypg). During the 2012 season, Keeton set single-season school records for touchdown passes (27), passing yards (3,373), completions (275), completion percentage (.676) and total offense (3,992 yards), while tying the single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 121 yards at Louisiana Tech.

Entering his senior season, Keeton is one of 25 college football players named to the first edition of the 2014 Heismanpundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Trophy Watch List and one of 17 players named to the 2014 Bleacher Report's Initial Heisman Trophy Watch List.

Suite, a 6-3, 205-pounder from Honolulu (Punahou HS) earned honorable mention all-MWC honors as a junior as he ranked fourth on the team with 77 total tackles (37 solo, 40 assists) and had six or more tackles in eight games. He finished the season ranking first on the team, fifth in the MWC and 41st in the nation with five total interceptions (0.36 ipg), tied for first on the team in fumbles recovered with two and tied for fourth on the team with six pass breakups.

Suite was also named to both the SI.com and CBS Sports.com All-Bowl Team following Utah State's 21-14 win against No. 24 Northern Illinois in the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl as he tied his season-high with 11 tackles, to go along with a fumble recovery and interception.

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