ASU Football: Who Will Win the Sun Devils Quarterback Battle This Year?
A lackluster recruiting class has the Sun Devils counting the days until the start of the 2011 season. But before the Devils can take the field, the coaching staff is going to have to make a tough decision. Who will start at quarterback?
The same question was asked last season and people are still questioning Coach Erickson’s decision. This time the choice might be even more difficult, as more people have entered the mix and Erickson has stated that he plans on naming a starter by the end of spring ball.
This is going to be as tough of a decision as Erickson has had to make at ASU; it may decide whether or not he returns in 2012. Like LeBron James, Erickson must ask himself, "What should I do?"
His five choices are…
Taylor Kelly, Redshirt Freshman
Kelly redshirted last season and seems like a long shot to get the starting nod this season. The knock on Kelly is that he is a little undersized and lacks the arm strength the other quarterbacks on roster have. Kelly is at his best when he is making plays with his speed.
The coaches seem to believe that they have found a gem in Kelly, but it doesn’t look like he is physically ready to play right now. He definitely has the talent and was awarded the Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year his senior year at Eagle High School, as he led his team to a 5A state championship.
Kelly will be a very good quarterback some day, but he just isn’t quite there yet.
Mike Bercovici, Freshman
Bercovici is the dark horse to get the starting job. He will join the team for spring ball because he graduated high school early.
Bercovici doesn’t exactly look the part. Scout.com claims that he stands 6’2”, 205 pounds, but his height might be exaggerated. He looks like he is really about 5’11”, 205 pounds. He has also been criticized for his ball-handling ability and his mobility.
Bercovici is a natural quarterback. He more than makes up for his lack of size and speed with his football instincts and natural talent. He has a very quick release and throws a beautiful ball.
If Bercovici wants to start this season, he needs to wow the coaching staff with his accuracy. He is probably the most accurate quarterback on roster. In Noel Mazzone’s offense, a player like Mike Bercovici can thrive.
Michael Eubank, Freshman
Eubank is the headline name of the Sun Devils' 2011 recruiting class. His signing announcement aired by FOX Sports was reminiscent of Sun Devil cornerback Omar Bolden's commitment.
Eubank might be the exact opposite of Bercovici. The strengths of Eubank are his size and athleticism, while his weakness is his long release. He stands 6’5” tall and weighs about 220 pounds. His athleticism is something that the Sun Devils haven’t seen at the quarterback position since Mark Malone in the Frank Kush era.
Sun Devil fans have to be intrigued by Eubank. He seems like he would fit perfectly in the current system.
Rumor has it that Eubank committed to ASU because coach Dennis Erickson promised him the starting job. This seems unlikely since Erickson has claimed he will choose the starter by spring ball, before Eubank is even at ASU.
Steven Threet, Senior
Threet started all but one game last season at Arizona State. He was, for the most part, average for the Sun Devils in 2010, however, he showed a lot of promise in games against Wisconsin, Washington and Washington State. Although just as often he ran into turnover difficulties against teams like Oregon, Oregon State and Cal.
If Threet can improve, then he has a very good chance of being named the starter again in 2011. He is very intelligent and is a proven leader. Last season he threw for 2,534 yards with 18 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
A major concern about Threet right now is that he is still not cleared to play after a concussion he suffered in the game against UCLA. If he is not healthy by spring ball, then his chances of starting again look very slim.
I have always liked Steven Threet and hope he gets a chance to play, but a concussion that takes this long to recover from can be career threatening. Hopefully Threet can get healthy and have a chance to compete for the starting job again in 2011.
Brock Osweiler, Junior
Osweiler has been dubbed an early favorite to get the starting nod after closing 2010 with two victories. In very limited playing time in 2010, Osweiler managed to throw for 797 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.
Against UCLA Osweiler had one of the best games by a quarterback in ASU history, throwing for 380 yards and four touchdowns in a comeback Sun Devil victory. Then against Arizona, the 6’8” signal-caller proved he is not just a big arm, but that he has some wheels too.
Osweiler has a lot of potential to be great. He is a spirited leader, hardworking, clutch and can throw the ball a mile. He has the potential of being an all-Pac-12 quarterback.
As of right now it is Osweiler’s job to lose. I expect Osweiler to come to spring ball vastly improved as he prepares to lead the Devils to a 2011 Pac-12 South championship.
My heart is telling me that I want Michael Eubank to start, but my brain is telling me Brock Osweiler. Though it would be cool to have a new athletic quarterback leading the maroon and gold, the right choice would be Osweiler. He gives the Devils the best chance to win right now.
Comment below and tell me who you think should be the starting quarterback for the Sun Devils in 2011.