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ESPN: ASU QB Jayden Daniels a potential instant impact freshman

Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) throws a pass during the Arizona State Sun Devils spring football game on February 28, 2019 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Herm Edwards’ second year in Tempe coaching the Arizona State Sun Devils will have several storylines heading into the season, but none will be bigger than what Edwards decides to do at quarterback.

With the departure of Manny Wilkins, Edwards has his choice between redshirt junior Dillon Sterling-Cole and three true freshmen: Jayden Daniels, Ethan Long and Joey Yellen.

Daniels, deservedly so, has the most hype surrounding him. The No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the 2019 class, Daniels was being looked at by Alabama, Georgia and nearly every team in the Pac-12. He committed to ASU in mid-December, and along with Yellen, enrolled early to get a jump on the competition with Sterling-Cole.

In February’s Maroon and Gold scrimmage, Sterling-Cole was the most consistent of the three, starting the drills over the freshmen. Sterling-Cole, of course, started in 2016 against Oregon as a true freshman, filling in for an injured Wilkins and Brady White as the team’s third-string quarterback. He redshirted in 2017 and threw two total passes last season.

ESPN’s Tom Luginbill picked out 10 different freshmen across the country who could make an instant impact, and Daniels is one they are keeping an eye on.

One of the more heated QB competitions in the country should go deep into August in Tempe. Daniels and fellow true freshman Joey Yellen enrolled early to compete with Dillon Sterling-Cole to lead the Sun Devils’ offense. Daniels is the most dynamic runner of the three. He is a dangerous dual threat who possesses a live arm and the feet to create big plays. We would call this neck-and-neck among all three; Sterling-Cole had better be at his best in fall camp, or Daniels could go right by him.

If Daniels were to start, there’s good news and bad news for the weapons around him.

He won’t have last year’s leading receiver N’Keal Harry to throw to, as he went to the NFL Draft and was selected in the first round by the New England Patriots. Harry caught 73 balls for over 1,000 yards and no other Sun Devil caught more than 50 or compiled over 500 receiving yards. But the next names down the leaderboard — Brandon Aiyuk, Kyle Williams and Frank Darby — are all returning.

So too is junior running back Eno Benjamin, who is coming off a monster season on the ground of 1,642 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.

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