ARIZONA STATE FOOTBALL

Quarterback competition is the main event at ASU spring practice

Feb 5, 2019, 3:32 PM
(@BDenny29/Twitter photo)...
(@BDenny29/Twitter photo)

TEMPE, Ariz. — There are plenty of storylines to keep an eye on as Arizona State opens spring practice in the middle of winter this week.

Which receivers step up in the absence of NFL-bound N’Keal Harry? Will a running back emerge to help lighten the load on Eno Benjamin? And how does the defensive line absorb the losses of Darius Slade and Jalen Bates, who both announced they were transferring out of the desert?

Those are all important topics, but none compare to the biggest question facing the 2019 Sun Devils: who is the starting quarterback?

With four candidates – including three true freshmen – in the mix, we probably won’t have a definitive answer when the spring game rolls around on Feb. 28. But we should at least have a better idea of where the four candidates stand heading towards the summer. And Herm Edwards is already keeping a close eye on his new group of signal callers.

“I was pretty impressed with all the quarterbacks, to be quite honest,” he said after ASU’s opening practice on Tuesday. “They’ve been in the building every day since they got here, and it showed on the field.”

Those quarterbacks are Dillon Sterling-Cole — the only “veteran” of the group — plus incoming freshmen Jayden Daniels, Joey Yellen and Ethan Long. And while Sterling-Cole’s experience gives him a head start, all four bring impressive talent to the field.

Daniels was considered the No. 2 dual-threat recruit in the nation, picking the Devils over an impressive list of suitors that included Alabama, Georgia and nearly every team in the Pac-12. While he can do a little bit of everything, Yellen is more of a prototypical pure passer — and an extremely accurate one at that.

Then there’s Long, who Likens compared to Tim Tebow on Signing Day, in terms of what it’s like to have a conversation with the signal caller out of Oregon.

Edwards followed up that high praise with some strong words of his own on Tuesday.

“I love him,” Edwards explained. “I love that kid. He makes your football team better. His persona, his energy, his enthusiasm. He’s a wonderful kid. I want him on my football team. That’s it. You want guys in the locker room like that. Comes here every day with a smile on his face.”

Those three freshmen make up maybe the best quarterback class in the country, and arguably ASU’s most talented incoming crop at the coveted position ever. But bringing them to Tempe is just step one. Now Edwards and his staff have to figure out where they all fit and develop them into actual college QBs.

“They’re very competitive, all four of them,” Edwards said. “They know what’s at stake. One of these guys is going to walk out of that room – whether it’s in the summer, or whenever it may be – and he’s going to be the starting quarterback. And that’s big. As we know, ASU has had a history of really good quarterbacks. And you’re stepping into a position where, if you’re that guy, there’s pressure.”

Now it’s a matter of finding out who’s ready for that pressure.

Arizona State Football

Rachaad White #3  of the Arizona State Sun Devils congratulates teammate Jalin Conyers #12 after he...
Arizona Sports

Sun Devils drop out of AP Top 25 following Utah loss

After Saturday's 35-21 loss to Utah on the road, Arizona State has fallen out of the AP Top 25 college football rankings.
22 hours ago
Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd (0) reacts after sacking Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels durin...
Associated Press

Utah takes hold of Pac-12 South Division after comeback win over ASU

Cameron Rising threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns, rallying Utah to a 35-21 victory over No. 18 Arizona State on Saturday night.
2 days ago
Arizona State running back Rachaad White (3) carries the ball against Utah during the first half of...
Jake Anderson

Arizona State collapses in Utah as offense goes silent in 2nd half

After taking a 21-7 lead into the locker room at halftime, ASU failed to score a single second-half point en route to a 35-21 loss.
2 days ago
Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) carries the ball as Utah safety Vonte Davis (9) defend...
Arizona Sports

Arizona State leads Utah at half despite 7 offensive penalties, fumble

Arizona State is back to its old ways of committing penalties and playing undisciplined football in the first half.
2 days ago
Arizona State defensive back Chase Lucas reacts after knocking down a pass against Colorado in the ...
Wills Rice

Report: ASU’s Chase Lucas, Evan Fields and Johnny Wilson out vs. Utah

ASU CB Chase Lucas (back), S Evan Fields (hamstring) and WR Johnny Wilson (hamstring) will reportedly not play in Saturday's game vs. Utah.
2 days ago
(Twitter Photo/@ASUFootball)...
Wills Rice

Arizona State honors fallen Utah players with heart shaped helmet decal

ASU added heart-shaped helmet decals to honor the two Utah players in Aaron Lowe and Ty Jordan, who have passed away in the last year.
2 days ago
Quarterback competition is the main event at ASU spring practice