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Taylor Kelly named as ASU’s starting QB

TEMPE, Ariz. — It took longer than Arizona State head coach Todd Graham wanted, but Monday sophomore Taylor Kelly was named as the Sun Devils’ starting quarterback for the season opener August 30 against Northern Arizona.

But in holding true to what he’s said throughout fall camp and following Saturday’s scrimmage at Camp Tontozona, Graham said redshirt freshman Michael Eubank will also get playing time against Lumberjacks in certain offensive packages.

“We’re going to go with Taylor there, and Eubank will play as well, so we’ll end up using two guys,” Graham said.

Graham’s comments also seemed like they should include an asterisk, because he reiterated again that all three QB candidates are very tightly bunched right now.

“That’s not to say that [Mike] Bercovici won’t play because he’s made it very difficult,” he said. “There’s not much separation between them and we really won’t know how they’re going to react until we get in a real game situation.”

Kelly, who came out of spring practice third on the depth chart, says being third in the pecking order after the spring really spurred him to work harder.

“My competitive edge came on. I just came out and had an edge on my shoulder and over the summer decided to work hard, that’s the big thing that happened to me,” Kelly said.

Kelly said he worked hard in the weight room to improve his arm strength, threw extensively with receivers and watched a lot of tape during ASU’s off time.

“I just wasn’t comfortable with my reads, I guess I was kind of hesitant and over the summer I just kind of relaxed and started being more comfortable and watching a lot of film,” he said.

Kelly’s appointment means that Eubank, who many felt would emerge as the starter, is the number two quarterback heading into the opener. But Eubank isn’t exactly broken up over the fact that he’ll be holding a clipboard during that first series. In fact, he’s happy for his teammate.

“He’s a great guy, I congratulated him,” Eubank said. “It’s all good, we’re all brothers. I know my role and I know that I’m going to be playing and the quarterback competition is not ended yet.”

That leaves Bercovici as the odd man out currently, although after a slow start to camp, he’s played very well as of late. In what has become rare in such quarterback competitions, Bercovici is keeping a positive attitude about his role with the team.

“I’m going to be ready on every snap and I’m going to come out here every practice like a professional and compete, and just because there’s a starter named or a number one guy named currently, doesn’t mean that my mindset has changed,” he said.