High school champion becomes Flashes’ QB

Nick Walton

Freshman quarterback Spencer Keith is currently sharing playing time with sophomore quarterback Giorgio Morgan. Keith has thrown for 381 yards and four touchdowns in three games for Kent State. Brittany Ankrom | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

After leading the nation in passing with 5,310 yards while leading Pulaski Academy to a state championship in Arkansas, freshman quarterback Spencer Keith is now splitting time as Kent State’s quarterback.

In three games for the Flashes, Keith has thrown for a team-high 381 yards and four touchdowns.

Stater sports reporter Nick Walton sat down with Keith to talk about his high school career and his transition to college.

Can you talk about your senior season, when you led the state in passing yards and led your team to a state championship?

My senior year we had a really good team, a good coach, and he had a good game plan for us every week. It was a really fun experience playing for that team because we had 25 seniors, and we’d been together since sixth grade. It was just a lot of fun playing with those guys and winning a state championship.

Your high school coach (Kevin Kelley) received some national recognition for his unconditional method of fourth down. Can you talk about that?

My junior and senior year, we didn’t punt on fourth down. It was a lot different, but it worked, obviously, because we won a state championship my senior year. He’s a really good coach, and I respect him a lot.

What was your reaction when he told you that you weren’t going to punt no matter how long fourth down was?

We just kind of went with it. The first few games we didn’t really have faith in it, but once the season went along my junior year, we started buying into it a lot, and, by my senior year, we were all for it.

What ultimately led to the decision to choose Kent State?

Really just the offer, and I came up here on my visit and I liked it a lot. I really liked the school and the coaches. I came up here during the summer some, and I really liked the players. I got to hang with them a lot.

What’s your freshman year been like on and off the field?

It’s been real busy. We have a lot of schoolwork, and on the football field we have a lot of plays to learn. Every week we have different things, different schemes, and it’s just been real busy. I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve gotten to play some, and I really enjoy that.

Has there been a coach or player who’s helped you make the transition from high school to college football?

Coach (Doug) Martin’s helped me a lot. He gave me a playbook at the beginning, and I just went over that a lot and asked him any questions if I had any. But really, it’s been pretty smooth.

Can you talk about the start of your college career? At Boston College you threw an interception but then came back and threw a touchdown, and you’ve had some success since that point.

The start was a little rough, but I started feeling more comfortable out there toward the fourth quarter against Boston College. I’ve really just been feeding off that, and the Iowa State game I got to start. I really enjoyed that, and the guys have been helping me a lot through it and helping me adapt.

Last week you split time with sophomore quarterback Giorgio Morgan. Is it more difficult to split time at the quarterback position compared to other positions?

It’s a little bit difficult, but you just got to get into the flow of it and kind of keep focus the whole game, even though you’re out.

You lettered in basketball and track in high school. If you weren’t playing football, what would you play?

I’d probably like to play basketball. I got hurt my junior year in basketball, but I enjoyed playing basketball my senior year and junior year.

Ultimately, when you leave Kent State, what do you hope to have accomplished?

I’d like to win a (Mid-American Conference) championship with the team, and I don’t know – I really haven’t thought that far ahead.

As a freshman, have you had to earn the respect of your teammates? Have they made you do anything stupid?

Not really. I just earn my respect through my play in practice and in the games. They’re starting to trust me a lot more now, and I’ve just been doing that.

Contact sports reporter Nick Walton at [email protected].