Darren Keyton has had a year to remember.

First in April Keyton’s former roommate and Central Michigan teammate Eric Fisher became the NFL’s No. 1 overall pick.

A couple of weeks later Keyton a Traverse City native signed with the Lions his favorite team growing up.

Then in July after his new NFL fame Keyton was named one of two grand marshals at the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City. The other was Winnipeg Jets defenseman Zach Redmond and the two former hockey teammates relished the chance to catch up on their athletic success.

Now Keyton an interior offensive lineman is focused on his goal of making the Lions’ 53-man roster.

“I definitely want to play for the Lions” he said. “I definitely want to play in the NFL.”

As recently as April Keyton had said he’d be willing to play in the Canadian Football League but since signing with the Lions after a tryout during rookie minicamp it’s NFL or bust.

However like most undrafted free agents Keyton faces a steep uphill battle to make the team. He played 26 snaps in the Lions’ exhibition win Friday over the Jets but still had fewer reps than his interior line competitors Jake Scott Derek Hardman and Rodney Austin. Keyton though said he wouldn’t mind playing on the Lions’ practice squad if that’s his ticket to the NFL.

“He’s done well” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “He’s played a couple different positions along the offensive line (center and guard). Particularly with an offensive lineman it’s good not to notice when they go in and I think that’s been the way with him.”