Just a season-and-half into his NFL career, a fifth-round draft pick from the University of Idaho is now one of the Texans’ team captains.
“It means the world because being voted captain is being voted by your peers,” Keo said. “For them to vote me, it’s just very special.”
Seeing Keo get elected as a captain wasn’t a surprise to head coach Gary Kubiak, who noted that Keo “had a heck of a game” against Buffalo. Keo had two special teams tackles in the game to give him four on the season.
“He’s a real sharp player,” Kubiak said. “You watch him in the meetings. He’s on top of what he’s doing.”
Keo caught the Texans’ eye when defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was the head coach of the 2011 East-West Shrine Game last January. In that college all-star game and the week leading up to it, Keo made a big impression on Phillips, and the Texans eventually selected him with one of their two fifth-round picks.
At the time, general manager Rick Smith said that Keo had the makings of “a diamond in the rough.”
But he Texans cut Keo after last year's training camp, then signed him to the practice squad. Keo was signed to the active roster in mid-October of last season, and he contributed on special teams the rest of the way.
“That’s his big role on our team, playing special teams,” Kubiak said. “Our guys respect his effort, how he plays, how he goes about his business.”
Special teams coach Joe Marciano “wasn’t surprised” by Keo’s selection, either. He also couldn’t remember a time in his 27 NFL seasons as an assistant coach that a second-year player was named a captain on special teams.
Keo was honored by the selection and said he has now raised the bar as far as personal expectations go.
“Now, I’ve got to go out and I’ve got to push myself even harder,” Keo said. “I’ve got to make plays all the time. I’ve got to be in the right spot and have to expect that. I have to get everyone else to hold themselves accountable as well.”