Head Coach Mike Anderson sees a lot of Jeff Leise in freshman outfielder Braden Keith. That is quite high praise since Leise was one of the catalysts of a Husker squad that won two conference titles and made a pair of College World Series appearances in his three seasons as a starter.
"We have a lot of high hopes for Braden," Anderson said. "He is a lot in the Jeff Leise mold in that he is a left-handed hitter with great speed and excellent work habits. He came from a small school and didn’t have an extensive baseball background, but has impressed us with the strides he has made since the fall."
Like Leise, Keith, a three-time All-Colorado selection, is in a position to develop in the Husker program, as Nebraska returns a pair of outfield starters, including All-Big 12 candidate Daniel Bruce. According to the Husker head coach, Keith will primarily serve as a backup in either center or right field as he continues the transition to Division I baseball.
One of four Colorado natives in the 2003 recruiting class, Keith was a three-time All-Colorado selection for Coach Blaine Miller at Falcon High School. Keith hit over .480 in each of his four years at FHS, driving in 105 runs during his prep career. As a senior, he garnered first-team All-Colorado honors, batting .600 with five homers, 28 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. Keith was not only selected to play in the Colorado Rockies High School All-Star game, but played in USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars in Joplin, Mo., in the summer of 2003. As a junior, he was tabbed first-team All-Colorado by the Denver Post, batting .741 (43-58) with 10 doubles, five triples, six homers and 38 RBIs in just 18 games. He was also a perfect 13-for-13 in stolen bases, drew 10 walks and did not strike out. A four-time All-Southern League honoree at FHS, he also earned first-team All-America honors from The Baseball Factory. In addition to his exploits on the diamond, he was also a three-year starter at quarterback, earning first-team all-conference honors as a junior and senior, when he rushed for 1,100 yards in nine games. Keith selected Nebraska over Arizona and Arizona State.
Birthdate: March 6, 1985; Parents: Tommy and Kim Keith; Brother: Dillion (deceased); Major: General Studies.