Player capsule: Brady White
Weight: 202 pounds
2016 season quick review: A former four-star recruit and Elite-11 quarterback, White was pressed into action last season against USC in a 41-20 loss after starter Manny Wilkins was injured. A week later, White received his first career start and completed 19-of-36 pass attempts for 179 yards with one touchdown and one interception in ASU's 23-20 win over UCLA. But White suffered a significant foot injury late in the fourth quarter on a drive inside the red zone as he attempted to extend a play along the sideline and was awkwardly tackled, ending his season. White had surgery and missed spring ball, but could be cleared for a full return to action this summer.
SunDevilSource.com analysis: He's 1-0 as a career starter but it may be hard for White to get fully back into the competition for the Sun Devils' starting quarterback position in August given that he's not yet running in his recovery from the foot injury. Initially upon being hurt there were whispers from some well-placed sources around the ASU football program that White might end up missing part or even all of the 2017 season due to the severity of the injury.
While that now appears unlikely, White will remain at least somewhat limited as the team enters its summer conditioning. How long that remains the case will impact White's role as the quarterback battle plays itself out in coming months. It's still unknown as to whether he'll be truly 100 percent or close to it in August as camp gets underway, but even if so he'll have to work his way from a disadvantaged position.
As returning starter Manny Wilkins battled former Alabama quarterback Blake Barnett throughout spring ball in an effort to impress first-year offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Billy Napier, White was unable to participate. He dressed out every day and even threw the football a little bit, but that was the full extent of what he was able to do. Napier at this point has a more developed sense of what he has to work with from Wilkins, Barnett and even sophomore Dillon Sterling-Cole. Overcoming that will be hard, particularly when still coming off injury, and may even require Wilkins and Barnett faltering to some degree -- which isn't implausible.
White looked pretty good in his first start last year against the Bruins, all things considered. He has a lot of poise -- too much so, perhaps -- and works hard to find an open receiver to throw the ball to, and extends plays to enable it. That cuts both ways though, as it can yield an increased number of sacks and jeopardy throws. Though his arm strength would be considered average in the Pac-12, White is reasonably accurate and throws a very catchable ball. He's also pretty sound mechanically -- better than Wilkins and Barnett in some aspects -- and able to complete passes on the move. He's also gained quite a bit of size since arriving at ASU, and even in the last six months since being injured, which could help with durability if he's able to find his way back to the field in a starting capacity -- be that at ASU, or elsewhere.
Our view is that White is a player who would improve quite a bit over time if given the opportunity to develop while being a starter. But that's increasingly unlikely considering the player he lost the starting nod to initially is back, and Barnett is now also competing for the job, while White is limited. It's also unlikely because ASU hasn't had a winning season in the last two years under Graham, and there's more of a sense of urgency, which means going with the quarterback who can help the team win right now is even more forward in their thinking than it probably was a year ago, when White didn't initially win the job.
Projected depth chart status: The most likely scenario is that White begins the season as the third-string quarterback, assuming he's physically cleared to play well in advance of the team's season opener. Moving up on the depth chart is certainly a possibility, but it's going to take impressive play in August, perhaps coupled with one or both of Wilkins and/or Barnett faltering. ASU started three different quarterbacks last year, however, and with Wilkins' history of exposing himself to injuries, perhaps White could move closer to a playing opportunity as the season advances and he puts the foot injury further in the past.