A recurring segment where we tackle your 2008 #16 Arizona State Sun Devils football team, position by position, and see what our strengths and weaknesses should be for the upcoming campaign.
We start where every football team starts: Quarterback.
1. Rudy Carpenter
6'3, 220 lbs senior. 2007 stats - 246/398 62%comp rate, 3202 yards, 25TD/10INT good for a 145.09 rating. Rudy was also sacked a record-breaking 54(!) times.
2008 outlook - A couple things to note about the incumbent starter. First, at the beginning of the 2007 season Rudy was listed by most media outlets, and ASU, at 6'2, 202 lbs. Apparently he has grown an inch and put on 18 pounds (of what we can only hope is muscle) in the offseason. This is good, because who knows what kind of pounding he will take with our young offensive line.
Rudy's confidence, judging from comments he has made in the offseason, appears to be at an all time high. It is his second year under coach Dennis Erickson, however, it is the first year under offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Rich Olson. Olson has followed Erickson around throughout his career, with pit stops in Miami, Seattle, and San Fransisco. He is considered to be a good coach, and it will be interesting to see what they do with the spread offense in the pac-10 this year.
I am not sure if we will be serious title contenders though, if Rudy is the same Rudy as he has been in the past. With a not-so-great deep ball and the tendency to be one of the most streaky quarterbacks in division I, it will be key to see if Rudy has taken some steps forward as a senior.
2. Danny Sullivan
6'5, 240, Jr. 2007 stats - 7 games, 19/29, 66% comp, 212 yards, 2TD/1INT, 142.79 rating.
2008 outlook- Most of those stats came in Sullivan's 7/14, 114 yard, 1TD performance in the 4th quarter of the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl last winter against the University of Texas. That performance likely firmly entrenched himself as Rudy's backup, but it would be a strong signal that the season is over if Sullivan is forced to step onto the field. A timid player, he has at times flashed a cannon arm, but with a lack of confidence and experience, lets hope Sun Devil nation does not have to see him playing unless we are blowing some scrub team out like NAU or Stanford..
Jack Elway, Samson Szakacsy, and Chasen Stangel. Elway (Yes, he is the son of THAT Elway.) is a true freshmen, and Stangel and Szakacsy are redshirt freshmen. They are all in the mix for the 3rd spot on the depth chart and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Stangel was the top recruit out of the three, but is the smallest at 6'0, 210 pounds. Rivals.com ranked him as the #16 pro style quarterback in the nation in his recruiting class. Szakacsy is known for his accuracy and mobility and is considered a goof fit for Erickson's offense. Elway has the name, and the arm, reportedly able to throw it 60 yards or more already. How this one plays out will simply come down to how the three are able to grasp the offense.
With a solid starter, a solid backup, and three projectable freshmen waiting in the wings, Quarterback is not a position of need for the Sun Devils, and fans should be pleased with what the team is putting on the field for 2008. The grade is lowered due to Rudy being a known commodity, and one that is just not quite an elite college player. But a very good one.