Arizona State's coaches and players kept the results of the Sun Devils' starting quarterback competition under wraps for as long as possible, but on Friday morning, head coach Todd Graham confirmed sophomore Manny Wilkins will start at quarterback against Northern Arizona.
Graham made the announcement during a radio appearance Friday morning on the Doug & Wolf show on Arizona Sports 98.7, stating publicly for the first time that Wilkins has earned the right to lead ASU's first team offense on the field for the Sun Devils' season opener.
Wilkins beat out redshirt freshman Brady White for the opportunity, and spent the spring and the first week of fall camp contending with redshirt freshman Bryce Perkins for the job as well before Perkins suffered a neck injury.
Wilkins began ASU's spring practices and fall camp taking first team reps with the Sun Devils' offense, and essentially led the competition wire-to-wire. According to program sources, Wilkins' performance in a team scrimmage on August 20 solidified his status as the front-runner for the starting job.
The Sun Devils' new signal-caller served as the backup to Mike Bercovici last year and participated in a handful of contests, but has yet to throw a collegiate pass.
During the radio appearance, Graham also said up to nine players won't start Saturday night due to injuries and other unspecified reasons, and SunDevilSource is reporting senior linebacker Salamo Fiso, senior defensive tackle Viliami Latu and sophomore tight end JayJay Wilson are among those players.
First-game suspensions are common throughout college football and sometimes related to academic performance.