ASU football’s freshmen quarterbacks Coltin Gerhart, Manny Wilkins adjust to backup role


Video by Fabian Ardaya | Sports Reporter

Gerhart or Wilkins?

That’s the question ASU fans have had to get used to asking themselves after highly touted quarterbacks Coltin Gerhart and Manny Wilkins both elected to commit to the University last fall.

Gerhart, a 6-foot-0 freshman from Murrieta, California, appears to be a shorter, more mobile version of starting redshirt senior quarterback Taylor Kelly and is a perfect fit for ASU’s read-option offense. Wilkins, on the other hand, plays the read-option as if it were made for him, drawing comparisons to current 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during his time at San Marin High School in Novato, California.

Both, however, remain in the same place. With Kelly, the third-team Pac-12 quarterback, returning for his senior year, the race for the starting quarterback should be delayed. It may be delayed yet another year as Kelly’s backup Mike Bercovici is entering his own junior year and was a highly touted quarterback in his own right.

Wilkins sees his role just as every other quarterback on ASU’s roster does: stay ready and prepare for any opportunity.

“(The quarterbacks) all have a pretty good relationship,” he said. “We all have the same job, which is to prepare, whether you’re the starting quarterback or not. We go out here and do whatever (deputy head coach Mike) Norvell tells us, and if we don’t execute we just have to practice what coach Norvell preaches.”

Once Kelly is out of the fold at ASU, there is destined to be a hot pursuit of the starting quarterback position.

Video by Fabian Ardaya | Sports Reporter

“I think (Manny Wilkins and I) are just taking it one day at a time,” Gerhart said. “We work every day trying to get better, and take any chance we can to take advantage of our opportunities.”

The quarterback position is competitive, Wilkins said.

“We’ve both just realized how blessed we are to be put in the position we are in, and everywhere we go it’s going to be a competition,” he said.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

- Junior running back D.J. Foster came out in pads but did not wear a helmet or participate in practice for the third straight day. He reportedly has been dealing with migraines and wore sunglasses the entire practice. Senior running back Deantre Lewis took the first team reps in his place.

-Redshirt sophomore Carlos Mendoza was among those who impressed during Friday morning’s session, working with the first team at Will linebacker and leading the charge during kickoff coverage.

- ASU athletic director Ray Anderson was among those in attendance during practice, stopping by to watch and chat with head coach Todd Graham.

- During 11 on 11s, Graham elected to use the same changes he put in place on Thursday, using redshirt junior Antonio Longino at first-team Devilbacker, redshirt freshman Grant Martinez at first-team tight end and redshirt senior Deantre Lewis at first-team running back. He placed redshirt senior Marcus Washington at second-team Devilbacker, and redshirt sophomore Edmond Boateng at second-team defensive end.

-Freshman Tyler Whiley, a four-star wide receiver commit from the class of 2014, worked with the defense during the morning’s skill sessions.

Reach the reporter at fardaya@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @fardaya15