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Whitmer's Riley Keller stays patient through recruiting process

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    Whitmer quarterback Riley Keller holds offers from a number of Division I programs as he approaches his junior year.

    The Blade/Katie Rausch
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    Riley Keller said he likely will commit to a college program next summer.

    THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON
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COLUMBUS — During this important summer between his sophomore and junior years, Whitmer quarterback Riley Keller is waiting patiently as the recruiting market continues to evolve for the class of 2020.

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Riley Keller said he likely will commit to a college program next summer.

THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON
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A three-star prospect as rated by 247Sports.com, Keller has six Division I offers and remains on the radar for many other programs. The recruiting process often is accelerated for quarterbacks, and some teams are in hot pursuit of players in Keller’s class.

“It’s a different game than it was last year,” Keller said. “Last year, it was kind of getting my feet in the water and getting coaches to know me. But this year, it’s more of an actual recruiting process that’s starting.”

With his junior season around the corner, Keller has offers from Iowa State, Mississippi, West Virginia, Toledo, Bowling Green, and Western Michigan.

Odds are good the Whitmer standout will receive more scholarship opportunities this year, but the process is different for a quarterback. Only one plays at a time, and most schools are cautious when recruiting them.

Many programs take only one quarterback per recruiting cycle, meaning the process often unfolds like a game of musical chairs.

“They can’t miss on a quarterback. It’s not like a defensive lineman where they can offer a whole bunch and accept a few,” Keller said.

“Some colleges will take one, maybe two, each class, so it’s kind of difficult for them, and sometimes it can be difficult for me or any other kid that’s being recruited.”

Ohio State closely watched Keller for the past year, but has not offered a scholarship.

The Buckeyes focused their efforts on four-star Arizona prospect Jack Miller, who officially picked the Buckeyes over 18 other schools Sunday.

Although OSU looks set as of now, Keller said he was not disappointed, and noted changes can happen at any time before signing day.

“I think nowadays a verbal commitment doesn’t mean a whole lot until you actually sign and are ready to go after your senior year,” Keller said.

“I’m not upset. I know I’m probably still going to stay in contact with [OSU quarterbacks coach Ryan] Day and see where things are with the staff and where they are with me.”

Michigan has not offered a scholarship, but similarly has been watching.

Keller was not planning on going to Michigan’s camp in June until Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh texted an invite to Whitmer coach Ken Winters, after which Keller attended and was the camp’s 2020 MVP at quarterback.

“I just knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity, so I went up there and thought I did pretty well,” Keller said. “I won the MVP, so it went really well, and the relationship with the coaches is getting better. [Offensive coordinator Pep] Hamilton wants me to stay in touch with him, and was nice to finally meet coach Harbaugh.”

Keller said he plans to have a top three list of colleges sometime after basketball season this year, then wants to make a decision before his senior season.

A lot can change between now and then, and Keller is not rushing to conclusions.

“I’m not trying to get too eager,” Keller said.

“I know some kids my age are getting offers from all around the country, and I know they are going to come for me. It’s just a matter of time, I think.”

BUTLER ON RADAR: Keller isn’t the only Whitmer football player in the recruiting crosshairs.

Defensive tackle Cavon Butler, a senior-to-be, received a scholarship offer from defending national champion Alabama after working out at a camp there in June. The three-star prospect has reached double digits in offers, including from Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Toledo.

Contact Nicholas Piotrowicz at: npiotrowicz@theblade.com, 419-724-6110, or on Twitter @NickPiotrowicz.

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