Going into his third year, Dustin Keller has already established himself as one of the best young tight ends. Jets fans can get to know him a little better with these 10 facts.
Compiled by Doric Sam
Keller attended Jefferson High School in Lafayette, Ind., and was a three-sport standout in football, basketball and track. During his senior year, he was the state's leading wide receiver, setting Indiana state records with 113 receptions, 1,804 yards and 22 touchdowns, earning first-team All-State honors. He was also a second-team All-State small forward in basketball and the state high jump champion.
Keller never planned on being a tight end. As a wideout in high school, his biggest idol was Jerry Rice. After committing to Purdue he went on a strict diet to gain weight, putting on 25 pounds. Since he was too slow to play receiver, Purdue head coach Joe Tiller converted him to tight end.
Keller comes from a family of athletes. His father, Willie Keller, Jr., played basketball for Morehead State College. His grandfather, Dave Mulvey, played on the 1952 Purdue football team that won the Big Ten Championship.
Keller attended Purdue University and majored in organizational leadership and supervision. His grandfather, mother Maureen and grandmother Linda Orr are all Purdue graduates. His brothers Dwight, Drew, Damien and Duran all either attended or are currently attending Purdue. His great-grandfather, Robert P. Siskind, was an electrical engineering professor at Purdue.
Keller has a love of food that further developed upon discovering the New York City restaurant scene. In March 2010, he began writing a column for the New York Times titled, "I Eight One" (a play on his jersey No. 81). The monthly column covers everything from restaurant reviews and healthy food options to behind-the-scenes insight into the eating habits of NFL players. He is also a restaurateur, owning six McAlister's Delis in the Carolinas.
During the offseason, Keller enjoys traveling and sharing his experiences with fans. "Getaway with DK" is his way of showcasing his various travel adventures. Keller posts pictures on his Facebook page and fans can guess where the photo was taken.
Keller is an avid community service participant and set up The Dustin Keller Foundation. According to Keller's website, the purpose of the foundation is "to help families focus on and realize their children's abilities in the face of whatever challenges they must overcome." In 2010, he was honored at New York City's Gridiron Gala as a United Way Hometown Hero for his continued commitment to the community.
Keller has developed a great relationship with quarterback Mark Sanchez. His career-best 55 receptions also led the Jets in 2010. Keller also caught a career-high five touchdown passes in 2010.
Keller has two superstitions before every game. Every gameday morning, he calls his mother and they pray the Prayer of Jabez: "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain." He also takes a few minutes before every game to himself at one corner of the end zone, saying a silent prayer.
Despite a productive rookie season in which he made 48 receptions for over 500 yards, Keller received a rude but funny welcome to New York during the offseason. In June 2009, while walking in Brooklyn, he was attacked by a stray pit bull that was foaming at the mouth. He was not injured, as he out-ran the dog and used his 38-inch vertical to jump on a tall fence to avoid "the mauling," as he put it.