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Player Capsule: Bryce Perkins

A neck injury cost Bryce Perkins his redshirt freshman season in 2016. What are his prospects like for this season and beyond?

Player capsule: Bryce Perkins

Position: Quarterback

Eligibility: Sophomore

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 207 pounds

2016 season quick review: After redshirting in 2015, Perkins suffered a fractured neck in camp last August when he put his head down trying to deliver a blow on an ASU defender, ending his season before it started. 

SunDevilSource.com analysis: Any neck injury is going to be taken very seriously in football and Perkins had to wear an immobilizing neck brace for several months last year after being hurt prior to the start of the season. He didn't practice at all last year following the injury and still wasn't cleared to practice in 11-on-11 situations during the spring. That put Perkins behind the curve both because he hasn't had the reps necessary to continue to develop in full team segments, and also because first-year coordinator and quarterbacks coach Billy Napier doesn't have the film to evaluate him.

Perkins was lagging behind Manny Wilkins and Brady White in the quarterback competition last year in camp and considering a transfer immediately prior to the neck injury he sustained. He had a sluggish start to practices in August, showing a tendency to have too many balls touched or intercepted by defenders and showing subpar throwing range, with longer throws not arriving at their destination on time and often undercooked. Too frequently he also didn't identify linebackers underneath in coverage in a way that created some dangerously returnable interception opportunities. 

A very good athlete who initially was recruited and offered by the Sun Devils as such, Perkins improved significantly as a quarterback over a three year period at Chandler High School, leaving the school with a state championship at the highest level and the clear-cut MVP in Arizona. The question now would be how much more can he continue to develop as a quarterback because his throwing mechanic is unorthodox, with a limited range of motion sapping ball velocity. It's been a real challenge to overcome even though his arm did appear to have some improved strength during spring football. 

Perkins does have good pocket utilization, a player who feels the pass rush and will step up into his throws. He wants to be a quarterback more than an athlete just playing the position and than manifests in his desire to be a deliverer of the football in a rhythm passing game. He has the ability to be an operator, and manage an offense with poise when he's seeing the field effectively. But that's going to come primarily via short to intermediate passing because of how he has a tougher time accessing the full width of the field to the far boundary, and attacking behind the defense. It may be too much of a challenge for his arm at the speed of the game in the Pac-12, but for it to work, Perkins would have to be excellent in all other facets. 

Projected depth chart status: Even before the injury and prior to ASU's addition of Blake Barnett, Perkins was unlikely to finish above third-string in the quarterback battle. That's actually become a more competitive position subsequently, and Perkins has gone through an entire season and spring ball without taking 11-on-11 reps, which means he hasn't been developing in practice reps at the closest thing approximating game-like conditions. As a result, it figures to be extremely difficult and improbable for Perkins to climb up into the two-deep in August if he remains with the program at the position. He probably won't even get the reps that would enable it as coaches are going to be inclined to pair down the number of quarterbacks receiving reps after only two or three weeks of practices in August. 


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