Camp Tontozona is on the horizon for ASU football, and the focus is on the heated three-way quarterback battle.
Coach Graham is weighing his options on who should be the commander and chief for the Devils. Some have even speculated the possibility of using a two-quarterback system.
Taylor Kelly, the most experienced of the bunch, posses elite leadership and deceiving speed. Michael Eubank has a great build, similar to ex-Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton's, at 6'5 242 pounds. Mike Bercovici, the reported front-runner, is the best pure passer.
Now it's time to channel my inner Ron Jaworksi and break down the pros and cons of each quarterback.
Taylor Kelly has been labeled as a dual threat quarterback, yet I personally believe he's actually one-dimensional. Kelly's mediocre arm strength would limit ASU's ability to stretch the ball down field.
His strength is running the football, notching approximately 77 yards on ten carries and two touchdowns in the spring game. With the talent and depth the Devils have at running back, our quarterback must be able to keep opposing defenses honest. I am afraid Kelly will not be able to pass well enough, causing him to lose out on the job.
Redshirt freshman Michael Eubank is a rare quarterback because he is bigger than most linebackers trying to sack him. The history between coach Graham and Eubank dates back to his high school days at Centennial in California.
Eubank was recruited by Graham at the University of Pittsburgh but decided to come to the desert instead. Now, the two meet again. It is unknown if or how this will factor into Graham's decision. It definitely wont hurt, as Eubank must know he has some tools that are attractive to coach Graham.
Eubank's strength is his athleticism, being commonly linked with words like "explosive", "versatile" and "simply a beast." He posted jaw dropping numbers in his senior season, 2,831 passing yards and 22 TD tosses while also rushing for 1,329 yards and 19 scores on the ground.
However, his biggest problem may also be slinging the pigskin around. Eubank can throw a solid deep ball but has shown problems with his accuracy. Arm strength is arguably the most overrated aspect when evaluating a quarterback, while accuracy is undervalued. But if ASU wants to go with a two-dimensional quarterback, he will win the job.
While, Eubank's size is his greatest asset, it is Mike Bercovici's downfall. Bercovici is listed at 6'1 202 pounds, relatively small for a quarterback. Countless quarterbacks have proven that generality wrong, like all-time single season pass leader Drew Brees. Taller quarterbacks do have an advantage but smaller quarterbacks should not be written off. More importantly, Bercovici has all the key tools to being a successful quarterback.
"Excellent pocket passer...has a cannon arm, sound mechanics and is tremendously accurate...has a very quick release...in first semester on campus, earned Hard Hat player recognition for his work in ASU's offseason strength and conditioning program." (ASU Athletic Website)
Maybe I am crazy but that sounds like the guy I want among this group. Bercovici is the only ASU quarterback that can consistently win games through the air.
When I think of a quarterback, I see Peyton Manning or Tom Brady not Michael Vick. No I did not mean to compare Bercovici to those greats, but his approach to the game is similar (carve up D's with his arm.) Another thing I love about Bercovici is the hard work he put in the offseason, which is how leaders are born. Players in the locker-room see his rigorous work habits, earning him tons of respect.
At the end of the day this will become a two-horse race between Michael Eubank and Mike Bercovici. Taylor Kelly is the odd one out because his biggest bonus is experience, which is irrelevant with a new coaching staff. The possibility of a two-quarterback system is intriguing but very unlikely. Mark my words, Mike Bercovici will be starting game one August 30th against Northern Arizona.