Collin Keoshian found a comfort level at Glendale Community College. In looking to reach the next level, Keoshian wanted to attend a university that could offer him a similar environment to flourish.
Keoshian, who rushed for 1,265 yards in 236 carries this past season, found the ideal mix when he signed with Illinois State, an NCAA Division I-AA school.
“I went there a couple of weeks ago and I loved the coaches and what they had to say,” said the 240-pound Keoshian, who earned All-Pacific Conference American Division first-team honors after scoring 11 rushing touchdowns in nine games for the Vaqueros (2-8, 0-7 in the division). “I asked them questions and they gave me the right answers, like telling me I would get my share of carries and catch some passes.
“[Former Glendale college football player] Sam Campbell goes there and he said it’s an incredible place to play and be.”
Keoshian, who averaged 140.6 yards per game, said he received a call from Tennessee late Thursday. However, Keoshian said he has no plans to decommit from Illinois State.
“It’s an honor to get a call from Tennessee,” said Keoshian, who had 12 total touchdowns for the Vaqueros. “I wanted to keep my word with Illinois State because I feel character is something that’s important.
“If other schools wanted me, then they would have called me last week or earlier.”
Illinois State enjoyed a successful campaign last season, finishing 9-4 and 5-3 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The Redhawks advanced to the second round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, losing to Eastern Washington.
Glendale college Coach John Rome said Keoshian, who transferred to Glendale from College of the Canyons after redshirting at Brigham Young University in 2010, found a suitable program for the next two seasons.
“It’s the best fit for him and we are proud of him,” said Rome, who added Keoshian needed to complete an associate’s degree in order to get back to a Division I school. “He will go there and represent Glendale college and get a good education.
“He was a very pleasant surprise for us this year and he had an absolutely outstanding year. He was consistent with everything he did. He got better every week.”
Keoshian’s watershed moment came Sept. 15 during a nonconference road game against San Diego Mesa College. He rushed for a school-record 326 yards in 26 carries and scored three touchdowns to lead the Vaqueros to a 31-19 victory.
“I thought GCC ran the ball the most among the junior college teams in the Los Angeles area,” Keoshian said. “They gave me the chance to establish myself.
“It means a lot to be named to the all-conference team. It’s an honor to be in the category of great players who have played there.”
Three other Vaqueros received all-conference recognition, including sophomore center Spencer Lee, freshman linebacker Dominic Bell and sophomore kick returner Eugene Gandara.
Lee, a Burbank High graduate, received all-conference first-team honors for the second straight season. Bell and Gandara earned spots on the second team.
Lee proved he could handle his share of responsibilities.
“It’s about trying to be aggressive and being able to control the tempo of the game,” Lee said. “It’s a pretty big honor to get all-conference again, and I’m proud.”
Bell finished with 82 tackles, including 10 1/2 for a loss. He also had two sacks in eight games.
Gandera had 11 kick returns for 253 yards.
“Dominic understood the offenses and was able to sift through traffic,” Rome said. “Eugene had great balance and was able to break a lot of tackles.”Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times