L.A. Avengers sign quarterback Sam Keller
LOS ANGELES -- Quarterback Sam Keller, fresh off a record-setting season at the University of Nebraska, signed a free agent contract with the Avengers on Friday. He inked a three-year deal that will keep him with the club through the 2010 Arena Football League season.
Keller (6-foot-4, 235 pounds) threw for 2,422 yards and 14 touchdowns in nine games last season for Nebraska. Before a shoulder injury cut his senior season short, he was 205-of-325 (63.1 percent), setting Cornhusker single-season and career records for completion percentage. Keller also established a new school record for passing yards per game at 269.1. Against Ball State on Sept. 22, 2007, he was 29-of-37 for 438 yards and three touchdowns.
"Sam had a high completion percentage in college and that's exactly what you need in the AFL," Avenger head coach Ed Hodgkiss said. "His accomplishments are even more impressive when you consider that he has played for a pair of high-level collegiate programs. We are really excited to see what he might be able to do for us in the future."
Keller transferred to Nebraska after playing three seasons at Arizona State University. In his entire collegiate career, he was 425-of-703 (60.5 percent) for 5,440 yards and 40 touchdowns, with a passing efficiency rating of 138.3.
During his junior season at ASU in 2005, Keller threw for 2,165 yards and 20 touchdowns in seven games, before suffering a season-ending hand injury. Against LSU on Sept. 10, 2005, he was 35-of-56 for 461 yards and four touchdowns. Keller's first start for the Sun Devils came as a sophomore in the 2004 Sun Bowl. In a 27-23 victory over Purdue, he was 25-of-45 for 370 yards and three touchdowns on his way to earning "Most Valuable Player" honors. Earlier that season, he came off the bench in six games to throw for 606 yards and five scores. Keller also played in six games as a true freshman, passing for 247 yards and a touchdown.
He played in a total of 19 games (eight starts) for Arizona State and was 220-of-378 for 3,018 yards (58.2 percent, the second highest completion percentage in ASU history) and 26 touchdowns, with only 11 interceptions. As a starter, Keller averaged 316.9 yards per game for the Sun Devils.
Keller attended San Ramon Valley High School (Danville, Calif.), where he was a two-time All-East Bay League and All-Contra Costa Times selection. In 2003, Keller was honored as the "Red Zone Old Spice California State Player of the Year."
His father, Mike, was an All-America linebacker at the University of Michigan and was picked by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round of the 1972 NFL Draft (64th overall selection).
The Avengers (4-8) will host the defending ArenaBowl champion San Jose SaberCats (8-5) on Saturday night at STAPLES Center. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the STAPLES Center box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, online at laavengers.com or by calling 1-888-AVENGERS.
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