Keaton Yeatts always wanted to play basketball in college, but a strange thing happened to him after his senior football season at Grace Community.
Watching his teammates go through spring training, Yeatts found himself wanting to be out there, furthering his football career.
“It was a feeling that I wasn’t really expecting,” Yeatts said. “I’d always loved football, but basketball had always been my passion.”
Yeatts ensured his life as a football player was not over, signing to play at Mississippi College on Tuesday at the Grace Community High School library.
Yeatts considered other schools such as Trinity for football as well as Dallas Baptist, Hendrix and Millsaps for basketball. Having already visited MC on a mission trip years before, the Choctaws had a leg up in the recruitment process.
“Even though it was far away I had already been there,” Yeatts said.
“Their coaches really took me in and were really kind to me. They really made me feel at home there.
“Mississippi College was really just a university that had everything I was looking for — a Christian environment, their academics are superior to a lot of other schools and they were willing to give me a lot of scholarships as well.”
Yeatts will play receiver in the Choctaws’ spread offense that he said is similar to what the Cougars run under coach Mike Maddox, who said Yeatts’ height (6-3), jumping ability and hands will help him excel at the next level.
At Grace, Yeatts was an all-state athlete in three sports: football, basketball and track.
“He’s one of those kids that changed his shoes with the changing of the sport and was able to pick right back up where he left off,” Maddox said.
Yeatts caught 20 passes for 480 yards and five touchdowns while also kicking extra points this past year.
He made one catch in the playoffs this year that assistant coach Coby Gipson described as “one of the most amazing catches I’ve ever seen a high school football player make.”
In basketball Yeatts averaged 7.6 points, 3.5 assists and 2.6 steals. He won a silver medal in the 110-meter hurdles as a junior.
“When you see a young man that’s successful in every sport that he attacks, you know that when he really zeros in on one particular position and one particular sport, that the upside will be high,” Maddox said. “I think just his versatility in the three sports, when it’s condensed down to one I think you’ll see him do a really outstanding job.”
At Mississippi College, Yeatts said he plans to major in business and finance and added that he doesn’t plan to try to walk on to the basketball team.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the future is very bright for this young man because he knows what hard work is,” track coach Norm Thompson said.
“He knows how to never say no.”