Sam Keller has informed Arizona State officials that he is leaving the school, and all indications are that the quarterback will transfer to Nebraska. Keller's father, Mike, told the Tribune on Wednesday morning that his son has "made a decision" on a new school and will utilize the scholarship release that ASU promised him.
He declined to name the school, saying that its sports information department requested that it handle any announcements, but sources in Nebraska said that Sam Keller is scheduled to arrive in Omaha this afternoon, then visit the campus in Lincoln.
"He just felt that a fresh start away from the negative stuff at ASU was best, even though he still has a lot of positive relationships there," said Mike Keller, who was on his way out of the Valley. "But he's going to a school that has a chance to win the national championship next year."
Keller has applied to become a student at Nebraska but he has not enrolled in classes, a spokeswoman at the school's registar's office told the Lincoln Journal Star.
The other schools on Keller's reported short list were Louisville, Texas El-Paso, Oklahoma, Iowa and Notre Dame.
The move to Nebraska comes days after Keller lost his starting Sun Devil QB job after a sudden, surprising reversal by coach Dirk Koetter. After a preseason battle with Rudy Carpenter, Keller was named the first-teamer on Friday, then demoted and replaced by Carpenter on Saturday.
In explaining the decision, Koetter said he "screwed up" and "needed to fix" the situation. The switch came after Koetter met with Carpenter and his father on Saturday and discussed the QB position with a group of players.
Keller, a senior, has a redshirt year available. He will sit out the 2006 season, then have one year of eligibility remaining.
Nebraska’s starting quarterback, Zac Taylor, is a senior. The Huskers also have three backups — sophomores Brian Hildebrand, Joe Ganz and Beau Davis — who are unproven, and heralded freshman Harrison Beck left the team during camp and transferred to North Carolina State.
On Tuesday, Cornhuskers coach Bill Callahan confirmed Keller's interest in the school.
Asked of his impressions on Keller, Callahan smiled and nearly had to bite his lip to avoid going further. Until a player enrolls at a school, he is technically a recruit, prohibiting a coach from talking about him.
"I really don't want to go there," Callahan said. "I'm not supposed to talk about him, according to the rules of the NCAA."
In three years at ASU, Keller threw for 3,018 yards and 26 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. The Danville, Calif., native was the Sun Devils' starter for the first seven games of last year before he suffered an injury to his right (throwing) thumb.
Carpenter, then a redshirt freshman, took over and finished as the nation's passing efficiency leader. During camp practices, neither QB established a clear superiority over the other.