Keene Recalls VT Pledge, Talks Future Position

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Chatfield (Littleton, CO) head coach Bret McGatlin wasn’t surprised in the least when Dalton Keene verbally committed to Virginia Tech back on April 18.

“Ever since I’ve known Dalton, which has probably been since he was in the 7th grade, he has been wearing Virginia Tech shirts,” McGatlin said. “I think they were always number one. Colorado State and Nebraska did well as well.”

Keene’s father was teammates and roommates with Virginia Tech defensive line coach Charley Wiles at Murray State, which was led at the time by head coach Frank Beamer. The family connection to the Virginia Tech program “definitely made an impact,” Keene said. “They’re like family to me. They made Blacksburg feel like home. There are definitely other things, though. I love the campus. I love the area. Definitely a family atmosphere. It’s a big town but it has a small town feel. There are tons of outdoor stuff to do, like hunting and fishing.”

As coach McGatlin mentioned, Nebraska made a strong push for the 6’5”, 230-pound rising senior athlete. Keene made his decision soon after an unofficial visit to Lincoln.

“Well I loved Nebraska. They had top-of-the-line everything, but Lincoln wasn’t my favorite place. The state of Nebraska wasn’t really something I was in love with,” Keene recalled. “After I got back from there I pretty much knew what I wanted to do.”

In Keene, Virginia Tech gets a truly versatile player with potential as an H-Back, tight end, linebacker or defensive end. Keene expects to start out as an H-Back for Hokies first year head coach Justin Fuente, who has impressed the Chatfield star in several ways.

“I really like Fuente,” Keene said. “He seems like a family guy. He cares for all the players. At Memphis, he completely turned that program around. It was terrible before he got there.”

Keene, who is rated by 247Sports as a 4-star prospect, impressed on the Chatfield Freshman team before moving on to the varsity level late his freshman year and then full-time his sophomore and junior seasons. Running back and linebacker have been his primary positions for the Chargers.

“I knew Dalton would do well, but he’s not one of those kids who stuck out you thought, ‘He’s for sure going to be D1.’ His eighth grade year, he exploded with height,” McGatlin recalled. “I had a lifting camp and saw him and thought, ‘Holy cow. I’m 6’3” and the last time I saw him he wasn’t that tall.’ His freshman year, he