REDMOND, Wash. -- For the first two years of Kasen Williams’ high school career, Jeff Chandler worked as the Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline athletic director.
He watched as the receiver showed a mix of humility and athleticism that pointed toward a future filled with Division I success.
While Williams has matured into a sophomore standout at Washington, Chandler is now the football coach at Redmond (Wash.). He sees some similarities between Williams and Mustangs sophomore receiver Jackson Keimig.
“At times, he looks like he’s a senior, a freshman in college,” Chandler said. “He’s that mature on the field without ever having been coached. He catches the ball. He’s got great hands. His body control is pretty amazing for 15 years old. Amazing might be too high praise, but I was always like, ‘Wow, we don’t coach that.’”
Chandler occasionally catches glimpses that cause comparisons between Williams and Keimig. But there is no doubt they are different.
“He seems to be pretty gifted, but it’s all very subtle,” Chandler said. “You could see Kasen Williams was going to be spectacular just because he was so explosive. Jackson has that explosiveness, but he’s really smooth.”
Keimig played nine games as a sophomore this season and caught 28 passes for 343 yards and two touchdowns.
“I feel like I was successful,” Keimig said. “I definitely could have done better, for sure. I think, overall, I did all right.”
If Keimig is going to eventually catch the kind of attention Williams did as a prospect, he knows he has plenty to improve.
“Specifically for my position, I need to get faster as a wide receiver, probably getting around to a 4.4 (40 time) by my senior year,” he said.
He plans to train with the same intensity in workouts and practices that he plays with during games.
His success is already pushing him to work harder in the offseason.
“It’s really exciting for me,” he said. “Being successful on the football field makes me hungrier for more success. I would like to be the best receiver in our conference, that’s one of my goals. And then also, obviously, a goal of mine is to get a D-I scholarship and play at the college level.”
He has yet to hear from college coaches, but he has the size at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds and athleticism that should catch their attention.
He finished his freshman year with a 4.0 G.P.A., so Stanford is his dream school right now. He also likes Washington among other Pac-12 programs. At this point, he is simply hoping to land a scholarship offer.
“To me, that would just show that my hard work pays off,” he said. “I would just be so happy that I got something from all the effort I put in.”
Redmond’s coaching staff gave Keimig a few snaps a running back on a whim during the season.
“When we run zone, he just has such great vision in seeing where the seam is and, again, he’s got that body control where he can plant and cut, accelerate and hit that seam quickly,” Chandler said.
The sophomore is at his best when he has the ball in space and projects to a big receiver at the next level. Right now, his future depends on how he trains over the next two years.
“It’s going to depend on how hard he works for it,” Chandler said. “He works hard in the weight room. He does the extra stuff that you need to do now for football. I believe he’s a Division I football player.”