Player Capsule: Manny Wilkins
Weight: 190 pounds
2015 season quick review: As a redshirt freshman Wilkins was the backup to starter Mike Bercovici but was almost never needed and didn't attempt a pass on the year.
SunDevilSource.com analysis: Wilkins is the most so-called "dual-threat" of the group competing for the job. He's without question the quickest and most elusive -- though Bryce Perkins may be faster in a longer race --and the most capable of making plays with his feet both in the read option game and also as a pure scrambler. In that regard, Wilkins is like an upgraded version of former ASU starter Taylor Kelly. But Wilkins' arm is also very good, certainly better than Kelly's in terms of on-time throwing range and the ability to fit balls into tighter windows at depth. Wilkins also throws a very clean ball and tends to be accurate down the field when his feet are set.
From a skill-set standpoint, Wilkins has no deficiencies. He's quite athletic, is mechanically sound enough to be successful, has plenty of ball velocity and accuracy. What will ultimately determine whether Wilkins emerges victorious in the competition is pocket poise and how well he's able to get through his route progression. Wilkins has had a tendency to bring his eyes down and transition from passer to runner too quickly and he has to break that natural tendency and force himself to cycle through his second and third progressions on a consistent basis. That's the only way that Wilkins will be able to unlock the full breadth of his talent.
Though he has improved in this regard to some degree, Wilkins is not yet someone who extends plays to find someone down the field in a way that leverages his ability to evade pressure. He's also capable of missing open receivers further into his progression, or making jeopardy throws by not accounting for zone defenders. The strides that Wilkins has made in this regard must be further improved upon if he's to not only win the job, but be successful to his own expectations, as well as his coaches.
In spring football Wilkins showed a lot of intangible leadership and avoided putting the ball in jeopardy or giving up negative plays. Those are key criteria set forth by ASU's coaches in the competition to win the starting job. If he continues to do well in these areas he's got a chance to be very successful.
Projected depth chart status: Wilkins is probably the odds-on favorite to be the start as ASU heads into the start of preseason camp with Brady White close on his heels and Bryce Perkins running third but this is a battle that likely takes at least a few weeks to get settled, and could even last into the early portion of the season if the competition remains tight. In 2012 Taylor Kelly was third entering camp and emerged as the starter, a job he didn't relinquish for the rest of his career.