House of Sparky is continuing its Top 12 Plays of Christmas series to commemorate the best moments from the Arizona State Sun Devils’ 2016 football season. Follow along as we reveal a new play every day leading up to No. 1, which will be unveiled ahead of Christmas Day.
Our No. 6 Play of the ASU Football Season: Manny Wilkins’ hurdle vs. NAU
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Manny Wilkins has had his ups and his downs of this injury riddled season. But we’re going to focus on one of his ups... literally.
If there was one thing the especially shined for Arizona State’s playmaker it was his ability to consistently hurdle, yes hurdle, defenders and gain significant yardage off of it.
Now, I know there’s a saying that says “save the best for last” however, the best one was the first one.
In the first game in the season, with his first start as a collegiate quarterback Wilkins leaped up approximately three plus feet over senior safety Keith Graham to avoid his tackle and end up with a gain of 28 yards.
At the time of this play ASU was struggling against the Lumberjacks. They were only up 7-3 in a game where they should’ve been up by at least a touchdown or two.
This play not only got the Sun Devils a first down but was the most explosive part of a drive that ended with Arizona State getting a much needed field goal at the time.
Following that drive the Sun Devils would go on to win the game 44-13 and get their first win of the 2016 season.
Wilkins as well as his teammate junior running back Kalen Ballage would go on to hurdle different defenders against many of their opponents, however this one is the one that really started it all.
No one could’ve seen that this redshirt sophomore quarterback would pull such a spectacular move out in his first collegiate start.
No one could’ve seen that Wilkins, in a play where he would’ve gotten sacked (had it not been for a block from Ballage) turn this almost dead play into a 28 yard gain.
And Keith Graham especially couldn’t have seen that Wilkins put him on the wrong end of poster, or else he might’ve tried a different type of tackle. ;)
For visual analysis of this hurdle, see the video below.