MAN — John Thomas Keffer is taking his show to the next level.
Keffer, Man High School’s senior quarterback, known simply as “JT,” signed a national letter of intent on Wednesday afternoon to play collegiate football at Glenville State College.
Keffer was a record-breaking four-year starter for Man and led the Hillbillies to the playoffs three straight years.
A member of the Class A all-state second team, Keffer completed 113-of-191 passes for 1,730 yards with 27 touchdowns and six interceptions during the season. He also ran for 223 yards and scored nine TDs.
Keffer helped lead 8-3 Man to a home playoff game this past fall where the Billies fell 38-28 to Tug Valley.
It was an amazing prep career and senior season for Keffer, who is also a standout basketball and baseball star at Man High School. He is currently the leading scorer for the Man basketball team and he was the winning pitcher in the 2014 Class A state championship baseball game as the Hillbillies beat Notre Dame 12-10.
During the regular season, Keffer fired a 19-yard touchdown pass to Ross Osborne to lead Man to a dramatic 14-12 overtime win at Tug Valley. He also helped Man beat Class AAA county rival Logan 18-13 in the season opener.
Keffer said he’s thrilled to get a chance to play at Glenville State.
“Signing today to me was very special,” he said. “It’s something I’ve worked for my entire life. It’s a crazy feeling to finally be able to say I made it. I’d like to thank my coaches and my family for always pushing me and make this day come true for me.”
He said he’s happy to be a Glenville State Pioneer.
“My expectations of getting to play football at the next level is that it’s a dream come true and I know that this is just the beginning. I’ve got a lot to work on and I’m excited to see what my future holds as a Glenville State Pioneer,” Keffer said.
In his four years as the starting quarterback for the Hillbillies he helped transform Man football.
Known over the decades for its tough brand of run-oriented offenses, the strong-armed Keffer helped turn Man into a more balanced attack.
No longer could opposing teams just stack the box and wait for the run.
Keffer could step back and fire the ball down field and make you pay.
Last year, Keffer had top targets Osborne and Matt Sanders to throw to.
Keffer was injured late in the 2014 season in a game against Tug Valley but battled back to start in the playoff contest against the Panthers in a 16-12 defeat at Mingo Central’s Buck Harless Stadium. Keffer was 65-for-128 passing (50.8 percent) in 2014 for 1,191 yards with 13 touchdowns and only three picks.
Keffer, a 6-foot, 229-pounder, gave Man the complete package with his leadership, a strong throwing arm and good decision-making. He was also not afraid to tuck and run with it if Man needed some yards to move the chains.
“He understands the game,” Man coach Harvey Arms said of Keffer in an earlier interview. “He can come to you on the sideline and tell you what is going on and what the situation is on the field. He’s a kid that has really matured in his football knowledge. What he sees out there he understands. Everyone who plays the game don’t all really do that but he does. He knows what is going on in front of him.”
Keffer stepped up Man’s passing game in his tenure.
Often times in the past, the Billies were usually only a third-and-long passing team out of necessity. With Keffer, he was able to spread out the defenses with his pinpoint passing.
“He can do anything on the field really. He can play any position but for us we really need him at quarterback,” Arms said. “He’s thrown the ball really well. At times, he’s pulled it down and has really run well with the ball. He’s just been a good all-around player for us.”
Glenville State finished 6-4 last season.