Miami students behind 'Chuckie For Heisman' account stir up Utah State fans
Three seniors at the U - Miami, not the one you're thinking of - have taken a special interest in pushing Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton as the next Heisman candidate.
Their grades depend on it.
Melody Cheikhali, Jennifer Locey and Jennifer Ramirez have gained some attention on Twitter in the last week for their new account: @Chuckie4Heisman. It's part of the three seniors' project for their Sports Information class.
The instructions were simple: Pick a football player (not a Miami player) and make a Heisman campaign for him. That includes a video, a flyer or poster, a news release and an iPhone app (in development).
Doing some research outside the power conferences, Locey stumbled across Keeton. The trio was impressed with his statistical output but a little surprised that he wasn't a more well-known name.
"I thought it was shocking none of us had heard about him," Locey said. "No one really talks about him, but Utah State had such a great season, and a lot of it was due to Chuckie and his hard work."
The group set about establishing its campaign, including the @Chuckie4Heisman handle. The first tweet came on April 3, simply: "Thanks everyone for following this account! Please get your friends to follow too! - MC."
As of Thursday afternoon, the account had about 150 followers - not a national movement by any means, but more than the students had expected from their class project. Most of their followers are now Utah State fans folks who have a genuine, rooting interest in seeing Keeton one day hoist the Heisman.
"From one night to the next, we added 50 or 60 followers, and some of them were shouting us out to Chuckie himself," Cheikhali said. "People were hash-tagging at us about the Utah-to-Florida connection. We go on Twitter all day trying to find out what the latest Chuckie Keeton news is and trying to connect with people."
The project included an interview with Keeton, in which the students asked him a number of questions including why he thought he should be a Heisman candidate. Locey said she came away believing that he should be seriously considered.
"It really stood out to us how humble he is," she said. "He's a really nice guy, he works really hard and he believes in himself."
The presentation for class will be next week - Cheikhali, Ramirez and Locey are all hoping for an A - but the interesting part is the project may live on.
The seniors are planning to hand over their materials, including the Twitter account, to the Utah State sports information staff for the Aggies to potentially use in their own Chuckie-for-Heisman campaign.
"This has become more than just a project: We're extremely interested in how Chuckie does," Cheikhali said. "We're more than willing to hand over the Twitter account and hand over our presentation. It's more than just a school assignment. It's crazy that it gained so much momentum and followers, and it's fun to see it grow."
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon