Jackson Moore
In news first broken exclusively to BarkBoard VIP subscribers on Thursday, Fresno State has named its starting quarterback for the 2023 season. UCF transfer Mikey Keene has won the job and will lead the offense in the Bulldogs' opener at Purdue on Sept. 2.
The Bulldogs spent most of fall camp with newcomer Keene and 2022 back-up Logan Fife splitting the first-team quarterback reps. As Fresno State neared the conclusion of camp, the ‘Dogs gave the nod to Keene for the opener.
Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford said of Keene prior to camp, “We watched (his film) at Central Florida and then went back and watched all of his high school tape. I thought he was just very, very accurate throwing the football. He's very smart, he's highly competitive, he's tough - All those things that you want your leader and your quarterback to be. So we felt like he was bringing those attributes to our team and wanted to be in our offense and want to play in our system. I think it's a great fit.”
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The Bulldogs landed Keene’s commitment via the NCAA Transfer Portal shortly after the 2022 season. He announced his decision on National Signing Day on Dec. 21. 247Sports ranked Keene with a 3-Star transfer rating with an 89 score - one point shy of 4-star status. Keene was ranked as the No. 18 quarterback transfer nationally this offseason. He was the top-ranked transfer QB commitment for any Group of 5 school.
Keene was immediately successful at the college level as a true freshman during his stay at UCF. He guided the Knights to a 7-3 record with 1,730 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, 6 interceptions and a rushing score during the 2021 season.
UCF added Ole Miss senior transfer John Rhys Plumlee in 2022, who took over the starting job for the Knights. Keene came in off the bench to help lead a 25-21 upset over No. 20 Cincinnati. In his lone start of 2022, UCF beat Memphis 35-28. Overall, Keene completed 60-of-83 passes this season for 647 yards, 6 touchdowns and 1 interception.
In 14 total career appearances, he completed 233-of-355 passes (66%) for 2,377 yards, 23 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Keene still has three years of eligibility for the Bulldogs.
Fresno State’s quarterback battle started with six QBs in the spring. The Bulldogs added Keene and early-enrollee freshman Jayden Mandal to four returners from the 2022 roster. After spring camp, Jaylen Henderson and Matthew Robinson both entered the transfer portal with Henderson landing at Texas A&M.
Going into Fall Camp, the ‘Dogs had largely narrowed the competition to Keene and Fife. Jayden Mandal also saw significant reps in the preseason. Redshirt freshman Joshua Wood missed most of camp with an injury. New walk-on QB Jack Jacobs rounds out the five QBs on the roster.
Logan Fife presumably takes the back-up role to open the 2023 season. Fife started four games and made five total appearances in place of Jake Haener last year. Fife completed 84-of-120 passes for 892 yards, 2 touchdowns and 6 interceptions while taking 11 sacks. He also ran in three touchdowns. Fife led a 2-2 record, suffering losses at UConn and Boise State, then leading wins over San Jose State and at New Mexico.
Keene’s first start comes on Saturday at Purdue. Kickoff is set for 9 a.m. PT with a Big Ten Network broadcast. Keene’s home debut comes in Week 2 as Fresno State hosts Eastern Washington on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. PT.

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