Eddie Keele: the Next Great BYU Lineman?

There was no secret the BYU offensive line struggled in 2002 due to injuries and inexperience. One of the promising players being counted on to upgrade the line is Eddie Keele, just a month back from his mission. I spoke with him today as he sat in his car after opening a bank account in Provo. Here's what he had to say…

I saw Eddie Keele when he was a high school senior at Othello High in Washington and couldn't believe his athleticism: he even dropped into zone blitzes as a defensive tackle (pity the poor, unsuspecting receiver running a crossing route!).

Eddie was all of 6-5, 285 pounds and looked like a big-time prospect because of his frame and quick feet (5.13 in the 40; 4.7 in the shuttle) and his natural strength (400 bench, 30 reps of 185 pounds). If he can put it all together, mind, body, work ethic, staying injury free, I think he could be an All-Conference player before his career in Provo is over.

Brentt Eads: Tell us about your mission to the Dominican Republic (returned Dec. 4), the highlights and lowlights…
Eddie Keele: The lowlights were being really sad, seeing all the poor people and how the living conditions were so bad. The highlights were that I couldn't have had better feelings from helping people and their humility made me better and helped me grow personally. I may have not grown physically but I sure grew spiritually. I loved it a lot! It was, by far, the best decision I've made in my life.

BE: What's the one thing you missed the most about the U.S. when you were on your mission?
EK: One thing I realized is I missed the small things, stuff like warm showers, walking on carpet, good food, air conditioning, the little things we don't appreciate until we get out of the country. I had to take bucket showers and it'd be so hot all year round. The coldest it got was 85 degrees with always a lot of humidity. You'd always have the fans going, but some places couldn't afford the electricity for fans. Overall, however, I guess I just missed my family the most.

BE: We hear you lost a lot of weight on your mission…
EK: I went to the MTC weighing 297 pounds and not long into my mission I got down to 247. I worked hard towards the end of my mission and got up to 265 pounds the last two or three months. Since I got home I've started lifting and gained 20 pounds already… I'm at 285 now. The coaches want me at 305-310 pounds for my freshman season.

BE: You also had some health problems during your mission, can you detail how that's going?
EK: About five months into it, I had to come home to address some heart problems that were less serious than the doctors expected. I heard a missionary in Jamaica had heart problems--I don't know if he died--but the church wanted to make sure I didn't have the same thing and I didn't. My heart would just take off and start beating fast. It ended up not being a problem that could kill me, just a minor annoyance. It just happens more when I'm out of shape. I've had it since the eighth grade. It was strange, because I had to come home for about five weeks and it was so weird to come back and then it felt weird going back to the mission. It only took a week, though, to get back into it.

BE: Where do you feel you're at in returning to your pre-mission athleticism?
EK: I feel it's coming back fast, I believe in a good three or four months I'll be stronger and faster than before. I've gained 60 pounds on my bench already, it's at 385-390. It was 315 when I came back--when I left I was at 450.

BE: You were recruited by LaVell Edwards and now have come back to a new head coach. How has that been?
EK: It's been good, I loved LaVell, but I'm really excited now because Gary Crowton has the guys working really hard. These guys are in good shape and ready to go. I think we're going to be fine. Coach Crowton is an awesome coach.

BE: Many people pointed to the offensive line as one of the weak spots of this year's team. How did you see it?
EK: I did read up on it and talk to my brother (Ryan, a graduating senior) and injuries made a difference. Ryan played on one ACL all year and of course losing Ben Archibald was key. This year I think we'll have an awesome line with returning guys like Scott Jackson and Quinn Christensen.

BE: What are your goals or plans for the 2003 season? Where are you in terms of years left?
EK: I've already used my redshirt year, so I'll have four straight years to play. My personal goal is to start, that's how I feel, but the coaches have the final say. I feel I can get back into it quick enough, but it depends on how hard I work and get ready.

BE: You could have stayed close to home to play in the Pac 10 for Washington or Oregon… what was it about BYU that made your decision to become a Cougar?
EK: First of all, religion-wise this was the place. Second, I liked the coaching staff here better, I got along with them better. I love this school a lot and I like Provo and Utah a lot. I think, mostly though, it was the coaches, Lance Reynolds who recruited me, Mike Empey and LaVell.

BE: Where would you like to be 10 years from now?
EK: If I could, I'd love to make it to the NFL and play for a few years and get a start on providing for my family. I want to have a secure job--I'd love to be a high school coach because I love kids and would enjoy getting them excited about life.

Total Blue Sports Top Stories