There were a number of interesting prospects that attended the Panthers’ prospect camp this weekend. One of them has a unique connection to Pitt. The connection isn’t a direct one, more like one with their next door neighbor the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pitt has expressed strong interest in 2020 Toledo (OH) Whitmer HS quarterback Riley Keller (6-foot-1 inches, 197 pounds). Keller is Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s second cousin.
“I’ve been around Pittsburgh a couple times. Today was my first day at the indoor facility. Just got to see the field and met the coaches around me, met with the quarterback coach, Coach Shawn Watson. We talked a little bit. Today was a good day and it was a new experience. I liked it,” said Keller.
Keller is a strong armed pro-style quarterback that has considerable time to grow prior to college. He has already received scholarship offers from Mississippi and Toledo. Riley started last season and had such an impressive debut, he’s already being considered one of the top up and coming quarterbacks in the Midwest.
“I’m not looking at one specific school at the moment. There are some schools showing interest,” he said. “I want to look at schools around my area that aren’t too far a drive from home. Something that won’t be a hassle to get to. I’m just kind of discriminant because I’m young and I have a lot of time.’
Keller was asked about strengths as a quarterback, he stated, “Right now my strengths are probably just making plays when it’s not there. Third and long, try and go deep but sometimes you’ve got to tuck it, run it or move around and find an open receiver, so I think that’s one of my major strengths as of right now is just making plays and make great downs.”
Although Keller is related to ‘Big Ben’, the famous Steeler wasn’t the primary reason for displaying his talents on the South Side. “Pitt assistant coach Renaldo Hill recruits my area and he invited me to their camp,” he said. “I thought it was a good opportunity to show what I had in front of the upperclassmen and really catch the eye of the coaches. I thought it was just too good an opportunity not to show.”
“As for other camps, I’m already signed up for Michigan State. I may go down to Ohio State if it’s not too big of a crowd there but yeah definitely Michigan State.”
Keller was impressed with his visit to Pitt. He added, “The city was pretty cool and then once you got on the campus where they shared visibility with Pittsburgh Steelers, I thought that was pretty neat. I was talking to one of the quarterbacks there and they just said its pretty cool being there with professional team and they just kind of share things and it’s a good place to be as a college student. Seeing the pros work out there and knowing what it takes to get to that level.”
Ben Roethlisberger, like many of the Pittsburgh Steelers, have develop a great rapport with Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi. Keller was asked if his famous cousin spoke with him about the Panther program. He stated, “He has a lot of great things to say about Coach Narduzzi because he’s been around there for a while and the relationship between the two is strong.”
“Pitt has caught my interest. I look forward to learning more about them.”
Harry Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru