A year ago it was one of the biggest unknowns surrounding Arizona State’s immediate football future.
Brock Osweiler was in Denver preparing for his mentorship from a guy named Peyton while new head coach Todd Graham and offensive coordinator Mike Norvell were left to pick between a handful of young, mostly raw quarterbacks trying to learn a new scheme.
One of those was an easy-going sophomore holdover from the Dennis Erickson era named Taylor Kelly.
Needless to say 3,500 total yards and 30 touchdowns later ASU fans have no doubt who will be under center when the Devils take the field against Sacramento State on September 5 at Sun Devil Stadium.
Kelly’s rise to stardom has caught the attention of everyone and some believe his best days are still ahead.
“I think Taylor Kelly is going to be one of the top quarterbacks in the country,” Pac-12 Network analyst Rick Neuheisel told Brad Cesmat in a recent interview on ‘Big Guy on Sports.’ “I think we’ll all be talking about him a year from now.”
2013 will bring new challenges for Kelly,mostly notably a brutal early-season four-game stretch which includes Wisconsin, Stanford, USC and Notre Dame but Kelly returns weapons in versatile running backs Marion Grice and D.J. Foster and tight end Chris Coyle who led ASU with 57 catches and 696 yards. The trio combined for 17 touchdown receptions. More skill position help is expected in the fall from a handful of highly touted junior college wide receivers.
“He completed close to 70% of his passes,” Neuheisel said describing Kelly in 2012. “He’s got the ability to run that offense…that was a phenomenal first year for a quarterback who was picked to be the number three guy [behind Michael Eubank and Mike Bercovici] a year ago. I have him tabbed as a real future star.”
The ASU praise didn’t stop there. Neuheisel believes the pieces are in place for a big season in Tempe.
“I think they’ve got a formula, they really do,” he said of the ASU. “I think they’re the favorite in the [Pac-12] South.”