Football Player of the Year: Keane takes talents to CCU

In two seasons as Myrtle Beach High quarterback, Tyler Keane put up some serious numbers – more than 4,500 passing yards for 54 touchdowns.

But it was the numbers the honors student put up in the classroom – graduating magna cum laude with a 4.5 GPA – that proved the difference in his college of choice.

Overlooked by major schools because of his 6-foot, 180-pound frame, Keane had almost resigned himself to the fact that he was going to be playing  Division II football far away from home this fall.

And then it happened. Keane earned an academic scholarship in Coastal Carolina University’s honors program, one of only 100 students to do so, and he received late word from CCU offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude welcoming him to walk on.

“I went around to all the colleges that were talking to me,” said Keane, who was voted the Mammy’s Kitchen

Football Player of the Year. “I really didn’t know I was going to end up at Coastal, but when I came back Coach Patenaude told me I could come in and have a chance to compete for. That’s all I was looking for.”

After visiting D-II schools in West Virginia and Indiana during the colder-than-usual spring, the news was greeted warmly in more ways than one. Playing at Coastal also gives Keane a chance to stay close to home and play where its warm.

“Those other schools are so far away and it gets cold up North,” said Keane, who also had a FCS offer from Valparaiso. “I really didn’t want to go that far from home so it worked out better than I ever imagined.”

Keane hopes to work his way into playing time and play his way into an athletic scholarship, but he knows he has to start at the bottom. With three QBs already on the roster and another incoming freshman slated for the position, Keane has his work cut out for him.

But he’s already started paying his dues, waking up at 5 a.m. to work out with his personal trainers and taking part in voluntary summer drills with the Chants by throwing routes to wide receivers. He and his fellow 34 freshman classmates will report to school next month.

“If I had played D-II I would probably be playing this year, but I like the idea of coming in and learning the system and having to compete,” Keane said. “I’m just going to go in and work really hard and see how far that gets me, even if I have to redshirt my first year.”

Keane believes playing in Myrtle Beach’s college-style spread offense can only help him as he enters the FCS ranks. He led the Seahawks to a 10-2 record and threw for more than 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns as a senior. But it was his dedication to education that opened the door for him in the first place, and he plans to run through it.

“I think I’m going to fit in real well with the offense,” said Keane, who plans to major in mathematics before pursuing an engineering degree. “I feel comfortable running the spread and I’ve learned a lot from watching game film with Coach (Mickey) Wilson. Playing at Myrtle Beach really prepared me for college.”

Both on the field and in the classroom.

Photo by Rancier Photography

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