Keenum comes into his own
Redshirt quarterback Case Keenum received a Conference-USA championship ring as part of last year’s Cougar football team, but he’s not satisfied with that.
As a redshirt quarterback Keenum didn’t play a single game for the Cougars last year, but now it’s his turn and he wants to earn a ring of his own.
"I was glad to get there, to be with those guys (and) to be a part of that team, but it means more this year getting to be on the field," Keenum said.
For Keenam, playing college football is the fulfillment of a childhood dream.
"I always dreamed about doing that. When you’re a little kid everybody thinks about growing up and playing in college and the NFL," he said.
Keenum has been around football all his life since his father coached at McMurry University and Hardin-Simmons University, both in Abilene. He’s the one who taught Keenum about the sport at an early age.
"I grew up a coach’s kid. I grew up on the sidelines with my dad, being the ball boy. It’s been a part of my life ever since I can remember," he said.
Keenum began to play football in junior high. As a sophomore at Abilene Wylie High School he became the starting quarterback for the varsity team.
During his junior year, his team won a state championship. After that, Keenum began to think he had the ability to play college ball.
"Junior year I realized it was feasible to go to college (to play football). I went to some camps junior year and (UH) offered me a scholarship and I committed before senior season," he said.
Keenum arrived at UH ready to play, but had to sit out his first year as a redshirt backup to then starting quarterback Kevin Kolb.
"It was hard. But I knew I wasn’t ready. Kevin (Kolb) did a great job last year helping me out and I got to watch a lot of film on him (and) got to watch him all last year," Keenum said. "He’s an incredible quarterback and I have a lot of respect for him and learned a lot from him.
Keenum was quick to adapt from small-town to big-city life because of the efforts his teammates made to help him adjust last year, he said.
"I got to room with (senior wide receiver) Jordan Brown. I got lucky… that’s one of the things in college, you go off on your own and you kind of need some guidance and he’s helped me a lot in that," Keenum said.
Despite the many changes, there are some constants in his life. Keenum said that his family nurtured his faith during his childhood, and it remains a priority in his life.
"I grew up in the church. It’s something my parents instilled in me and my sisters. That (God) is first and foremost in my life and something I have to remind myself every day," Keenum said. "It’s not all about football, not how I do at practice every day or the game coming. It’s very important, but in the end the things of this world really don’t matter."
Keenum said that his family and girlfriend have been there to support him along the way.
"My dad comes (to games) every weekend for sure. My mom, my grandma (and) my sisters come when they can. My girlfriend comes up (from Abilene) every weekend too," Keenum said.
Keenum is uncertain about his future. His major may change from one week to the next, and he’s still undecided on whether he will play football after college, but he has considered following in his father’s footsteps.
"I’ve always thought about coaching, with my dad being a coach, so that’s probably where I’m heading," Keenum said, "but it just depends on what my calling is and what God wants me to do."