And they’re off: The QB1 race begins at Arizona State

Mar 16, 2017, 3:01 PM
Arizona State head coach Todd Graham stands on the sideline during an NCAA college football game ag...
Arizona State head coach Todd Graham stands on the sideline during an NCAA college football game against Washington, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

TEMPE, Ariz. — The number is six.

There are six quarterbacks who will compete to be the Arizona State Sun Devils starting quarterback in 2017.

It’s a competition that is not expected to determine a winner until fall, perhaps as late as the days leading up to the Aug. 31 season opener against New Mexico State.

Yet despite the five-plus month wait, the quarterback position will be the most talked about aspect in this, the sixth year of head coach Todd Graham.

And the first words were spoken Thursday.

Following the Sun Devils’ second of 15 spring practices, five of the currently available signal-callers addressed the assembled media.

In alphabetical order:

*Blake Barnett, redshirt sophomore; listed at 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, he’s the heralded transfer from Alabama*

“I’m trying to come out here and give the best that I have. I came here for a reason. I have full belief in myself. I think that if I’m able to perform at my top level and play the best that I can play, I believe I will be successful. I came in here with, not that arrogance, but just that confidence in myself, so I’ll hold myself to that standard.”

*Bryce Perkins, redshirt sophomore; listed at 6-foot-3 and 207 pounds, he’s limited here in spring but expects to be “full-go” by fall camp as he rehabs from a serious neck injury that sidelined him all of last season*

“It definitely makes me appreciate the game more. Make sure that, now, every rep never take it for granted because you never know if you’re going to get a next one. So, having that happen to me, I’m coming back and saying  — I get it from my brother — my vision is clear now. God allowed me to come back from an injury like that, so I won’t take it for granted. I’ll make the most of it.”

*Dillon Sterling-Cole, sophomore; listed at 6-foot-3 and 204 pounds (15 pounds heavier than a season ago), he started at Oregon on Oct. 29*

“Coming in now, I feel more comfortable. I have more confidence in myself…being able to handle that adversity as a freshman and now coming into spring and knowing how to cope with some of those difficulties playing quarterback here I feel like this spring should go well for me.”

*Brady White, redshirt sophomore; listed at 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds, he’s being held out of spring practice as precaution as he recovers from a right foot injury suffered against UCLA on Oct. 8*

“What we’re expecting is for me to be back beginning of summer, be able to do the full program and compete in the fall. Right now, it feels fine. There’s no pain with what I’m doing (throwing on the side). It’s just a matter of continuing to be patient and let it get back.”

*Manny Wilkins, redshirt junior; listed at 6-foot-3 and 197 pounds, he completed 63.3 percent of his pass attempts for 2,329 yards and 12 touchdowns despite dealing with ankle, foot and shoulder injuries throughout the season*

“I’m as confident as I’ve ever been. I’ve worked my butt off this offseason to just get bigger, get stronger; get mentally stronger and just being out there and throwing with the quarterback coach and all that stuff. Just little things that I need to get better on to take myself to the next level. Obviously, getting injured last year, it sucked, but it’s part of the journey, it’s part of the road that I’m on and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.”

The last of the six quarterbacks will arrive in the fall. That’s 6-foot-4, 190-pound Ryan Kelley, a local kid out of Chandler Basha High School who signed with ASU after decommitting from Oregon.

Again, all six have been told it’s an open competition.

“We have enough talent. It’s getting the right people on the field at the right time. The first component to that is getting the guy that’s going to elevate the other 10 guys at quarterback,” Graham said. “Obviously, Manny is our returning starter and he’s got competition there, so that will be something that I think is going to be very competitive throughout the spring.”

Follow Craig Grialou on Twitter

Penguin Air

Arizona State Football

(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)...
Arizona Sports

Pac-12 exploring all expansion options with USC, UCLA heading to Big Ten

The Pac-12 is looking into expansion following the decisions from USC and UCLA on Thursday to head to the Big Ten as early as 2024.
4 days ago
Basketballs are rolled off the court during the NCAAB game at McKale Center on January 03, 2022 in ...
Arizona Sports

Arizona ‘extremely disappointed’ in USC, UCLA leaving Pac-12 for Big Ten

The Arizona Wildcats broke their silence Friday regarding USC's and UCLA's plans to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten as early as 2024.
4 days ago
UCLA plays Oregon during a Pac-12 NCAA college football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., ...
Arizona Sports

UCLA, USC to leave Pac-12 for Big Ten in 2024

UCLA and USC will be leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, beginning in the 2024-25 season, the two schools confirmed on Thursday evening.
5 days ago
Defensive back Jordan Clark #1 of the Arizona State Sun Devils celebrates with the Territorial Cup ...
Nikash Nath

Kyle Soelle, Jordan Clark ready to lead new faces for ASU football

ASU junior CB Jordan Clark and senior captain LB Kyle Soelle are expected to lead a Sun Devils defensive that'll have many new faces in 2022.
11 days ago
Arizona State Sun Devils offensive lineman LaDarius Henderson (77) lines up during the college foot...
Nikash Nath

Arizona State OL LaDarius Henderson talks new culture amid low expectations

OL LaDarius Henderson has been with ASU since 2019 and is no stranger to experiencing personnel and cultural changes within the program.
20 days ago
Head coach Herm Edwards of the Arizona State Sun Devils reacts after the loss to the Utah Utes at R...
Kellan Olson

SunDevilSource’s Karpman: Scathing opinion on ASU football unsurprising

A scathing take about ASU football from an anonymous opposing coach became the topic of conversation around the state of the program.
20 days ago
And they’re off: The QB1 race begins at Arizona State