Rudy Carpenter, Danny Sullivan, Steven Threet, Brock Osweiler, Taylor Kelly. For the fifth time in five seasons, the ASU Sun Devils will begin a football season with a new starting quarterback.
Although he acknowledged it was the closest quarterback competition he has ever seen, ASU coach Todd Graham announced redshirt sophomore Taylor Kelly as the team’s starting quarteback shorty after Monday’s practice.
However, this does not mean the competition is over or that Kelly will be the only one receiving reps at the position.
“(Redshirt freshman Michael) Eubank will play as well.” Graham said. “So we will wind up using two guys. That is not to say (sophomore Mike) Bercovici wouldn’t play because he’s made it very difficult. There’s not much seperation between them.”
Although the competition was close, Graham said the competition came down to several factors including the other personnel and the ability to manage the game.
Kelly began fall camp as the third option in the position battle — trailing both Bercovici and Eubank — but he has worked hard on his arm strength and downfield passing.
“It’s a dream come true,” Kelly said. “I’ve been working hard ever since I came to ASU.”
Kelly knew he was trailing the competition when camp began, but the quarterback has a competitive personality and he did not want to be on the outside looking in.
“My competitive edge came on,” Kelly said. “I just came out and had an edge on my shoulder and just decided to work hard.”
While deciding on a quarterback helps the entire offense get into a rhythm, it has a direct impact on the receivers and redshirt junior Alonzo Agwuenu is happy to finally focus on one guy to build a strong relationship with.
“You start seeing his tendencies on where he throws the ball and where he wants you to be at,” Agwuenu said. ”It’s great to have one guy throwing the ball and to focus on just catching balls (from him).”
Although he is not currently the starter, Eubank knows he will see the playing field often this season.
“(Offensive coordinator Mike Norvell) told me I’d be in and I’ll definitely be playing a significant number of snaps,” Eubank said. “I have no idea what my roles is going to be. I just know when I go on the field I’m going to make the plays I need to make.”
Redshirt sophomore running back Deantre Lewis was not in a green “no-contact” jersey and was participating with the running backs.
Junior wide receiver Kyle Middlebrooks was not wearing a green jersey for the first time this fall.
After injuring his shoulder in Satuday’s scrimmage, freshman Rick Smith was in a green jersey for practice today.
Junior running back Marion Grice left Saturday’s scrimmage early because of turf toe and spent today’s practice on muscle beach alongside fellow running back senior Cameron Marshall.
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