In our summer primer of the 2016 quarterback battle, 630 readers voted in a poll answering the question we're all pondering throughout the offseason: which one of the four competitors do you think will be the starter come Week 1?
Here's the results...
An overwhelming majority (63 percent) said they believed redshirt freshman Brady White would end up as the starting quarterback in 2016.
There's logic behind this reasoning. White is almost uncontestedly considered the highest regarded quarterback recruit the program has reeled in since Todd Graham became the head coach.
But is the Southern California product the best quarterback recruit ASU has ever landed?
The three major recruiting services (ESPN, Rivals, and Scout) have recruiting databases with ranking systems which stretch only as far back as 2002. However, within that span of nearly 15 years, we can take a look at how White compares to the other talented quarterbacks ASU has signed who have garnered a four-star rating by at least one of the three entities.
|Name, Year Signed||Star Rating||Position Ranking||Grade|
|Michael Eubank (2011)||3-star||101||77|
|Manny Wilkins (2014)||4-star||13||81|
|Brady White (2015)||4-star||4||84|
|Dillon Sterling-Cole (2016)||4-star||8||82|
|Ryan Kelley (2017)||4-star||5||84|
ESPN's recruiting database only contains information from 2009 and beyond.
|Name, Year Signed||Star Rating||Position Ranking||Rating|
|Andy Goodenough (2002) -- JUCO||5-star||1 (JUCO)||N/A|
|Derek Shaw (2005)||4-star||4||5.9|
|Chasen Stangel (2007)||3-star||16||5.7|
|Michael Eubank (2011)||4-star||8||5.8|
|Manny Wilkins (2014)||3-star||20||5.7|
|Brady White (2015)||4-star||2||6|
|Dillon Sterling-Cole (2016)||3-star||17||5.7|
|Ryan Kelley (2017)||4-star||8||5.9|
|Name, Year Signed||Star Rating||Position Ranking|
|Andy Goodenough (2002) -- JUCO||4-star||1 (JUCO)|
|Derek Shaw (2005)||4-star||12|
|Chasen Stangel (2007)||4-star||29|
|Michael Eubank (2011)||4-star||18|
|Manny Wilkins (2014)||4-star||14|
|Brady White (2015)||4-star||2|
|Dillon Sterling-Cole (2016)||4-star||16|
|Ryan Kelley (2017)||4-star||16|
Across the board, White is a consensus four-star recruit, and is considered a top-five signee at his position, according to each of the three recruiting services. Since 2002, he's the lone player to have been tabbed as such.
So, to answer our earlier question -- yes, White is the best quarterback recruit the Sun Devils have ever landed, but that's on paper. This brings me back to logistically understanding why readers determined White as their choice for No. 1.
Many who have been fans of ASU football since the 2002 campaign have been down the road before: the Sun Devils sign a highly-touted quarterback, only to watch him move on after another player overtakes him on the depth chart.
This is true of each of the last six big-time quarterback recruits ASU has signed.
Andy Goodenough, the No. 1 JUCO quarterback signee of the 2002 class, left in 2003 after Andrew Walter emerged.
In 2006, Derek Shaw transferred out of ASU after being buried behind Rudy Carpenter and Sam Keller on the depth chart.
Chasen Stangel dipped in part because of the emergence of Brock Osweiler, amidst trailing Danny Sullivan and Samson Szakacaksky.
Most recently, after the 2013 season, Michael Eubank transferred after only seeing the field in spurts behind Taylor Kelly.
The 2016 season will mark the first time that three prized quarterbacks will be rostered at the same time when Manny Wilkins, White and Dillon Sterling-Cole compete for the starting role in the fall.
Should all three remain on the team through next season, a fourth will join the battle in 2017 when recently-added Ryan Kelley arrives.
History and logic suggests there will be an odd man or two out.
One would figure -- considering the stature and notoriety of White upon his arrival in Tempe -- the results of the poll were influenced by the simple hope from our readers that he assumes the starting job. That's not a bad thing. White has flashed the potential which made him such a coveted target in 2015, and envisioning him operating the offense is enticing.
Although, are fans ready to abandon Wilkins, Sterling-Cole or even Bryce Perkins so soon? For example, we've noted before Wilkins' traits best resemble the most successful quarterback Graham has had run his offense (Taylor Kelly), and he is of a higher pedigree. Sterling-Cole and Perkins offer plenty of upside too, making for a crowded line.
Although, this is not a bad problem to have, really; obtaining quality talent and having the options available at ready disposal is important to building and sustaining long-term success in college football.
Having the luxury of hand-picking from a group of high-caliber players -- quarterbacks in particular -- is an even dreamier scenario. It's practically video game-esque.
Seriously. For our younger audience, have you ever played any of the EA Sports NCAA Football titles and entered Dynasty Mode? You can build teams up to the point where you'll have a surplus of five-star players at every position, and you might even experience conflict in deciding whether or where to play certain guys.
In the video games where you can run the table and winning virtual BCS Championships every season for 15-plus years straight, there's no real concern about players leaving since it's so rare they do.
But, in reality, even winning multiple CFB Playoff titles as a backup quarterback when you're capable of being a starter somewhere else isn't a compelling enough case to keep a player somewhere, and they really shouldn't. While it makes for a good story, the Mike Bercovici's of the world are few and far between
In truth, there's no right answer, and there's no wrong answer here. Until the meaningful snaps are played, this is all hearsay. The bottom line is, be prepared to celebrate, regardless of the final choice. There will be an odd man out, but don't be surprised however the outcome is reached.
The fanbase may be calling for a potential star to take over, but it's the underdogs who have prevailed and ascended to stardom more often than not in Tempe throughout the past 15 years.