Earlier in our 100-Day Sun Devil Countdown to Kickoff, we profiled former Sun Devil quarterback Brock Osweiler's heralded leadership qualities, beginning with the famous "Jump Huddle" at Arizona in 2010. For our 49th entry onto the list, we take a look at the talented gunslinger's remarkable on-field production.
After his thrilling five-touchdown effort against UCLA and the double-overtime win over Arizona to end the 2010 season, the expectations heading into 2011 were significant for ASU's junior quarterback.
Osweiler did well in the opener against UC Davis, but then again, against an FCS team, it would have been hard not to. Rather, his first major test came in the Week 2 "Blackout" game against Missouri, in front of a national television audience on ESPN. After he three his third touchdown pass of the game in overtime to lead ASU's win, Sun Devil Nation knew that he had not only aced that test, but shown the nation that he was something special.
Beginning with ASU's win over USC in Week 4, Osweiler reeled off six straight games with multiple touchdown passes--13 in all--with only five interceptions, all the while completing 64% of his attempts.
While the Sun Devils' season faltered over the final five games for a number of reasons, Osweiler continued to be productive. Against Arizona, he completed 36 passes, the second highest single-game total ever by a Sun Devil, and threw for 487 yards, the five highest total in school history. After he threw for a pair of touchdowns and 395 more yards in the Maaco Bowl against Boise State, Osweiler had notched several more prominent entries into the ASU record book.
His 4,036 yards in 2011 are the most all-time for a single season, as are his 516 attempts. By completing 63.2% of his passes, Osweiler had the most accurate season of any Sun Devil quarterback with over 300 attempts in a season, and his 26 touchdown passes are the fourth highest total ever.
As they say, the brightest flame burns quickest, and such was Osweiler's time as ASU's starter. Just two weeks after the bowl game, Osweiler declared for the NFL Draft, forgoing his senior season. Many at the time, myself included, believed it to be a mistake, but as he had done so many times before, Osweiler silenced his critics.
Over the course of the pre-draft process, Osweiler reworked his three-quarters throwing motion in favor of a traditional over-the-top style, and impressed scouts with his athleticism, arm strength, accuracy and--of course--intangibles.
By the time of his successful Pro Day, Osweiler was shooting up the draft boards and in the mix for a first-round grade. He continued to make several visits with NFL teams looking for their next franchise quarterback.
While he ultimately did not go in the first round, he did not have to wait much longer to hear his name called. In the second round, with the 57th overall pick, the Denver Broncos anointed him the heir to Peyton Manning's Mile-High throne.
Given the presence of a legend like Manning in front of him, it may be sometime before Osweiler steps foot onto the field for the Broncos, but in the meantime he will undoubtedly continue to make Sun Devil Nation proud, while motivating future ASU quarterback to chase his lofty record-setting numbers.