Only Texas Tech saved Arizona State from having the worst defense in the country in total defensive stats. They even played each other in the second game of the season and naturally Arizona State whipped them 68-55.
When your defense is that horrible, you had better have a great offense and especially a great Quarterback. The problem for the Sun Devils is they haven’t had really good and consistent Quarterback play probably since Taylor Kelly in 2014.
Last season, Manny Wilkins got most of the snaps at Quarterback and he was fair at times and not so fair the rest of the time. He threw for 12 Touchdowns and 9 Interceptions. In 10 games, Wilkins threw for 2,329 yards and completed 63.3 percent of his passes.
Wilkins was a sophomore last year with very little playing time going in. As a freshman, Wilkins
didn’t throw the ball at all and ran for 55 yards on 7 carries.
In the Sun Devils most recent Spring Game, or practices, returning starter Manny Wilkins was named MVP.
Manny Wilkins should start in September.
That is if he can hold off the challenge from Alabama transfer Blake Barnett. Equipped with a strong arm, the 6-5, 200 Barnett is also very mobile. While Barnett does have a good arm, right now he seems to have accuracy problems. In the Spring Scrimmage for the Sun Devils, Barnett was actually the fourth Quarterback to play but he had some really good throws.
Barnett may have started a new trend by leaving Alabama after the 4th game and finishing out the season at a Junior College and then transferred to Arizona State and will be eligible. For the Tide, he threw 19 passes and completed 11 for 219 yards and 2 Touchdowns. Nick Saban benched Barnett in favor of true freshman Jalen Hurts.
Barnett thought a new location to play football might be a great idea.
Barnett has a very good shot at beating out Manny Wilkins.
The Sun Devils, in theory, are just loaded at Quarterback.
Dillon Sterling-Cole played last season as a freshman and showed some potential. But, he also looked very much like a kid that just finished high school. He is 6-3, 190 and a talented athlete. Sterling-Cole should redshirt this year, but who knows what he might be able to do when football starts back up again. Like Wilkins and Barnett, Sterling-Cole has a strong arm.
There’s also redshirt sophomore to be, Brady White. In the recruiting class of 2015, White signed with Arizona State and was the 4th rated Drop Back Quarterback behind none other than another Californian, Blake Barnett. After being blown out by the USC Trojans, the Sun Devils benched starter Manny Wilkins and inserted White for the following game against UCLA.
White led the Devils to a win and completed 19 passes out of 36 throws for 179 yards.
Bryce Perkins signed with Arizona State in the same recruiting class as Brady White. Perkins was listed as the nation’s 14th best Dual Threat Quarterbacks and a 4 star recruit. He redshirted as a true freshman last season.
The Sun Devils somehow attract Quarterbacks, is it the pretty coeds, or the hot sun?
With the 2017 recruiting class, head coach Todd Graham signed Ryan Kelly of Chandler, Arizona. The city of Chandler puts out some talented players and Kelly is another good one that will soon be available. The 6-4, 190 Kelly was a 4 star recruit and one of the top Quarterbacks in the country. Maybe what Arizona State needs is another Kelly at Quarterback.
According to Todd Graham, the Quarterback chosen to start will manage the offense and elevate the other 10 players around him. From our limited knowledge, we can see who is talented and can make the big throws. But, we can’t see who is the better leader and who is the coolest under pressure.
Graham is a defensive specialist and his defense should be hurting him inside. But, the team does have 6 talented Quarterbacks to choose from right now. If Graham can get his defense fixed, the Sun Devils could be a really competitive team again in the Pac 12 South.