The 2012 season for Arizona State was predicted to be a rebuilding one under new head coach Todd Graham.
After quarterback Brock Osweiler announced his decision to enter the 2012 NFL Draft, the quarterback carousel was up and running between back-ups Taylor Kelly, Michael Eubank and Mike Bercovici.
Graham waited as long as he possibly could before naming Kelly the starter just weeks before game one of the season against NAU, but warned that Eubank and Bercovici were still in the running for the starting position.
The only problem was that Kelly had no intention of losing the job.
By the end of the 2012 season, Kelly led ASU to an 8-5 record, including a Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl victory over Navy where he was 17 for 19 for 268 yards with four touchdowns.
Kelly broke ASU’s record for completion percentage originally set by Osweiler in 2011 (61.8%) with a 67% completion rating. His 241 completions on the season went for 3,039 yards, including 29 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
His stats caught some attention, as ESPN’s Pac-12 Blog is in the process of releasing its top 25 player rankings for the conference, and Kelly was amongst that elite group in the conference.
Kelly ranked second in the Pac-12 and ninth in the nation in passing efficiency. If not for a late UCLA field goal, in fact, the Sun Devils would have won the South Division. In that loss to the Bruins, he completed 25 of 35 passes for 315 yards with four TDs and a pick and rushed for 55 yards, so it wasn’t his fault. … Kelly put up these numbers, by the way, with a middling, starless crew of receivers, with a couple of guys who were prone to the dropsies. It shows you how deep the Pac-12 is — and how difficult it was to make this list — that the nation’s No. 9 passer ranks 24th.
It’s hard to think the job of the nation’s No. 9 passer is unstable, but with Eubank returning and the possibility of ASU commit Joshua Dobbs coming in and making an immediate impact, Kelly’s top-25 season still may not be enough to make him a starter come day one of the 2013 season.