Two years ago Collin Keoshian had a full ride at Brigham Young University, but he gave it up for what he loves most, his family and running the football.
He is 6 feet 3 inches tall, weighs 240 pounds, and has arms like legs. Keoshian, 21, is a punishing power back with the ability to drag four men to the first down or gracefully leap over an unsuspecting defender.
“He’s as big as a bull and runs like a gazelle,” said assistant coach Alex Rome.
The only player from an eight-man high school football team to ever receive a full scholarship to BYU, Keoshian was a trailblazer for overlooked players at smaller schools.
“Eight-man-football has a stereotype that it’s not as good as 11-man and I had to overcome that, all four years I had people telling me ‘You’re not going to D1’ and it was tough,” said Keoshian. “I couldn’t be great. I had to be unbelievable.”
Top-scouted high schools showed interest in him but his family decided that staying at Santa Clarita Christian School and receiving a Christian education was more important than football.
“If you’re good enough they’ll find you,” Craig Keoshian told his son.
Despite crushing all of his school’s rushing records, winning two championships and dominating on both sides of the ball, Keoshian remained unnoticed. Until a YouTube video of him hurtling over would-be tacklers made its way around the college recruitment circuit, and landed him a Division I scholarship.
Recruited as a middle linebacker, he redshirted his first year in hopes of earning a job at halfback. However, he became disinterested when he could only get reps at fullback.
Although he never played a single snap at BYU, his family drove to all six of his home games,from Santa Clarita to Provo, Utah. In total, they traveled more than 7,750 miles and 170 restless hours in an era where people can video-chat across the world for free without putting on pants.
“We missed him … it was an opportunity to spend time with Collin, and even though he wasn’t playing, we were there for him,” said Craig Keoshian.
Now Keoshian is back at home with his best friends, Mom and Dad.
His family life seems to define him. He often starts sentences with “my dad and I think,” and his mother and three sisters come up frequently in conversation.
Keoshian also had an older brother, Eric, who passed away during infancy from a heart defect.
“I never met him, but he’s always close to my heart. Whenever I accomplish something I think, ‘I bet this would make Eric proud.’”
Although Keoshian adores his sisters, he finds it hard knowing that he should have an older brother to look up to.
“I would see my friends with their older brothers and how much fun they have. I think it would have been awesome to have an older brother like me,” said Keoshian.
Now at GCC, he continues to make his family proud. Keoshian’s finally found a school where he can run the football and he’s taking advantage of the opportunity.
On Sept. 15, Keoshian ran the ball for a school record 326 yards in a single game against San Diego Mesa College.
Alex Rome still recalls the moment he realized Keoshian was something special.
Rome had heard rumors around the locker room that Keoshian could leap on top of a bungalow with a single bound, but dismissed it as hot air.
“I heard it from the grape vine, and I didn’t believe it,” said Rome. “They had just finished squat lifts and I said, ‘I don’t think you can do it, I don’t want you to even try, you’re going to hurt yourself.’”
Before Rome had time to react, Keoshian bolted for the number two Verdugo Gym Trailer.
“He ran to the bungalow, planted one foot on the side, jumped up, grabbed the top and pulled himself up in one fluid motion,” said Rome. “It was incredible.”
Despite his newfound local fame and folklore, he has remained humble.
Head coach John Rome describes him as “first class.”
“He’s turned out to be a tremendous football player, but most importantly, he has tremendous character.”
Keoshian is a devout Christian who follows the bible, goes to church every Sunday and refrains from drugs and alcohol.
“I want to be an example,” he said as he quoted the bible, “Don’t let your brother stumble.”
“I don’t want my sisters or anyone else who looks up, to me to see me drinking and think ‘I want to drink too’ and let them stumble. I’d rather have a Gatorade.”
Even his church wine is substituted with what he calls “Amazing Welch’s grape juice.”
While at Glendale College, Keoshian has also maintained a 4.0 grade point average which he credits to a strict regiment of attending school, studying, and going to bed early.
He appears to be the perfect all-American role model.
Keoshian’s fashions himself after Tim Tebow, and his dream is to one day play in the NFL.
He will transfer next season, and although he’s keeping his options open, he would prefer a local Division I university.
His family’s social life depends on it.