Keenum is exploring the possibility of foregoing his senior season with the Houston Cougars to enter next April’s NFL draft. UH coach Kevin Sumlin said Thursday night that he is about to send in paperwork requesting that the NFL do an evaluation to determine what Keenum’s status likely would be. Keenum led the nation in passing and total offense for a 10-3 UH team that faces Air Force in the Dec. 31 Armed Forces Bowl.
“I’ve always assumed I’m coming back,” said Keenum, who attended the ESPNU college football awards show as a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award. “But there’s a lot of stuff out there. I’m going to make that decision after the bowl game and see what happens after that. There’s still information out there to be heard. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”
Once the NFL receives the paperwork, an advisory committee does an evaluation to project where Keenum would fit into the draft. Such an evaluation also can be helpful in determining what kind of insurance policy Keenum might want to buy if he decides to play for UH in 2010.
“It’s my job to provide him with as much information as I can provide to make an educated decision,” Sumlin said. “As I told him, fortunately I’ve been through this a few times (as an assistant at Oklahoma). We’re going to give him all the information that he needs. I think it’s important to do what’s in the best interests of him.
Keenum, a junior from Abilene, is the only quarterback besides Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell to have more than one 5,000-yard passing season. Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman, who was the O’Brien Award presenter, offered his advice to Keenum — sort of. Asked during the awards show about O’Brien winner Colt McCoy of Texas, Aikman said coming back for a senior year is an “important” part of a quarterback’s development.
“If you look at quarterbacks who have gone on to have success, by and large they’re the ones who decided to stay in an extra year,” Aikman said. “That year of maturity and growth goes a long way.”
Asked about Aikman’s words, Sumlin smiled.
“I heard that,” Sumlin said. “I appreciated Troy saying that.”