For the second year in a row, Taylor Kelly had a strong showing behind center for the Arizona State football program.
In 2013, he put up career highs in completions (302) and yards (3,635) — as well as attempts (484) — for the 10-4 Sun Devils as a junior. A year prior, he had career-best numbers in completion percentage (67.1), touchdowns (29) and QB rating (159.9), while only throwing nine interceptions.
As he enters his senior year, bigger and better results are expected for the 6-foot-2 quarterback and the team he leads.
College football writer Mike Huguenin of NFL.com came out with a list Monday of the top 14 candidates for the Heisman Trophy in 2014, and ASU’s starting QB got a mention.
Kelly came in at No. 12 on Huguenin’s Heisman watch list. Here’s what the writer had to say about the Sun Devils signal caller:
He had a great 2013 season, but did anybody really notice? Kelly has thrown 57 TD passes in two seasons and obviously is quite comfortable in coach Todd Graham’s offense. Kelly does need to play better in “big” games, though, and cut down on his interception total.
Kelly tossed 12 picks in 2013 and his completion percentage was slightly lower (62.4) than in his sophomore year, which explains why his QB rating dropped a bit to 139.6.
The soon-to-be senior lost his top tight end target, Chris Coyle, to the NFL, but he will benefit from the returns of his top wideout, Jaelen Strong, and top receiver out of the backfield, D.J. Foster.
The leading Heisman candidate picks in Huguenin’s list were all quarterbacks: Jameis Winston (Florida State), Marcus Mariota (Oregon), Braxton Miller (Ohio State) and Bryce Petty (Baylor), respectively. Running back Todd Gurley of Georgia is the highest non-QB on the list, coming it at No. 5.