23 Matt Keller

Matt Keller Ohio State
usaUnited States
Mason, OH
High School
Current Team
Ohio State
1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999

Major: Communications (1997-99), Undecided (1995-96)

Weight: 238 (1998-99), 230 (1997), 210 (1996), 200 (1995)

1999 Media Guide: It would be hard to find anyone on the current Ohio State football team who has done more for the team than the cheesecake-loving Matt Keller. This 37-game, 22-start veteran has caught passes, rushed for touchdowns, blocked like a lineman and just made big play after big play throughout his career. And he has done it all – off the field as well, in the classroom and during interviews – with a touch of class that only the finest student-athletes exhibit. A highly-touted and award-winning high school tailback, Keller came into the Ohio State program and willingly accepted a position change to fullback. Although somewhat undersized for the I-formation fullback, he has stood out at the position his entire career – “he works his tail off” running back’s coach Tim Spencer said – and he’ll be remembered as one of the most versatile fullbacks in OSU history and one of its best pass-catching fullbacks. Keller enters his senior season with not only 521 career rushing yards, but also 52 receptions for 574 yards and three touchdowns. He has a 69-yard touchdown reception to his credit (vs. Purdue in 1996) and a long touchdown rush of 22 yards (vs. Pitt in 1996).

1998 Media Guide: Valuable offensive performer who will be in his second year as the Buckeyes’ starting fullback … possesses a great work ethic and tremendous attitude … “he works his tail off,” says running back’s coach Tim Spencer, and adds “he is not your typical I-back fullback, but he is crafty enough to get the job done” … does whatever it takes to help the team … savvy, all-
around player who can run, catch and block … has 378 career rushing yards, 374 career receiving yards and 36 receptions … has the power to go inside and the speed to break away once he gets into the secondary … has excellent hands and is a dangerous outlet receiver … one of the unsung heroes of the offense … came to Ohio State as a 200-pound tailback, but has since gained over 30 pounds.

1997: Finished the 1997 campaign as the Buckeyes’ third leading rusher with 257 yards … was also third in receptions with 19 … paced the Buckeyes in rushing in back-to-back games, netting 50
yards against Michigan State and 37 against Minnesota, marking the first time since 1991 that a fullback had led the Buckeyes in rushing yards … had four receptions against both Penn State and Northwestern.

1997 Media Guide: Heads into the fall as the leading candidate to replace Matt Calhoun … backed up Calhoun last year and played well in his first year of competition … lacks the brute size and strength that has been characteristic of Ohio State fullbacks over the years, but is an effective, intelligent blocker and a tough, hard-nosed ball carrier with excellent speed … hard worker with a great attitude.

1996: Used primarily on passing downs last year and wound up with 17 catches for 235 yards and two touchdowns … one of those receptions was a 63-yard TD grab at Purdue that broke open a close game … his other TD catch came in the early stages of the Penn State game … biggest catch of the year was a 22-yard, over-the-shoulder reception in the first quarter of the Rose Bowl that set up Ohio State’s first touchdown … did carry the ball 25 times for 121 yards, an average of 4.8 yards per carry … lone rushing TD came against Pittsburgh on a career-long 22-yard run.

1996 Media Guide: Talented young back who has caught the coaching staff’s eye because of his all-around ability … was tried at both tailback and fullback in the spring, but then settled on the latter … has good speed and vision and a great pair of hands … capable of taking a short pass and turning it into a long gainer by running away from the defense … not real big as fullbacks go, but won’t hesitate to throw a block … good football player with a terrific attitude … got a lot of reps in the spring which should really help his progess … figures to play a lot of football for the Buckeyes before his career is over.

High School: Rushed for 1,116 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior, when he also caught 33 passes for 495 yards and added 485 yards on returns … earned special mention Division I all-state honors … accounted for 3,748 all-purpose yards and scored 34 touchdowns during his career, including 19 TDs as a junior … saw action at tailback and fullback, and also returned punts and kickoffs … team finished 13-1 his junior year, losing in the state championship game … from the same high school as Buckeye signee Rob Murphy … also played lacrosse at Moeller.

Personal: Hobbies include hunting and fishing.


SeasonTeamGGSRush AttRush YdsRush TDTgtRecRec YdsRec TDLngFumLostFRKRKR Yds
1996Ohio State121251211241723526310000
1997Ohio State13NA592570NA19139022NANANA227
1998Ohio State1210361431NA16200149NANA0216
1999Ohio State761661012813013800019