Player Profiles & Fall Predictions: QB's

With fall camp starting next week Devils Digest will bring you a position by position preview of the ASU team. No position battle will be examined closer than the quarterback race so we thought there was no better place to start than examining the Sun Devil signal callers and their prospects for the 2010 season.

Name: Brock Osweiler

Year: Sophomore

Birth date: Nov. 22, 1990

Hometown/School: Kalispell, Mont./Flathead HS

Height/Weight: 6-8/245

Scout.com Bio Page

Official ASU Bio Page

High School Résumé: The Gatorade State Player of the Year in Montana for 2008-09 and was the state's top overall football prospect…turned down a scholarship opportunity to play basketball at Gonzaga to attend ASU…rated by Scout.com as the nation's No. 47 quarterback prospect in the Class of 2009…threw for 2,703 yards and rushed for 700 as a senior…added 29 passing touchdowns and 13 rushing touchdowns that year…chose ASU over reported offers from Stanford and Washington State but also gained significant interest from Alabama, Florida State, Tennessee and UCLA.

Career College Stats: 6 GP/1 GS; 24-55 (43.6%); 249 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT (One season; 2009)

Strengths: Size; Mobility for his size; Confidence; Improving development; Some playing experience; Strong spring performance.

Weaknesses: Youth; Lack of significant starting experience.

Fall Camp Outlook: As a true freshman in 2009, the towering Montana native captivated the attention of many Sun Devil fans, both because of his potential and the lackluster play of the Sun Devil offense with other personnel utilized to a greater level. Osweiler's rookie season proved again the age-old football cliché that no player is more popular than the backup quarterback, as "We Want Brock!" chants were common at Sun Devil Stadium in times of offensive inefficiency.

In the time he did see game day action, Osweiler showed glimpses of his immense talent, though his opportunities were limited due to his novice status. His most compelling contribution was in second half relief of Danny Sullivan against USC in which he made a handful of inspiring plays and helped the Devils remain competitive through the end, helping him earn a start at Oregon the following week and then suffering a season-ending injury early in that contest.

The main knock on the sophomore both during his freshman season and entering the offseason was his field awareness, ability to read defenses and general quarterback cognition skills. Some of those deficiencies were attributed to the quarterback not putting the necessary hours in film sessions. Yet, all things considered Osweiler's marked development in those areas was applauded as one of the key storylines this spring and helped him emerge into the slight favorite to start once spring drills concluded.

Perhaps no player has taken to the addition of offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone as effectively and enthusiastically as Osweiler, as the sophomore-to-be in conjunction with his experienced position coach has made many of the necessary technical advances to complement his sensational physical attributes.

Though he had what can be described as a solid spring, if he holds an edge to start at quarterback it likely is measured in inches and any inconsistency or common inefficiency in August may cost him his depth chart position. Osweiler will need to remain dedicated to continued improvement in the film room and on the practice field to earn and/or maintain the first-string role, but based on his efforts this spring; he is more than willing and able to make the required developmental steps.

Burning Question: Is Osweiler able to maintain the physical and mental consistency to be ASU's starting quarterback?

Name: Samson Szakacsy

Year: Redshirt junior

Birth date: August 12, 1988

Hometown/School: Camarillo, Calif./Camarillo HS

Height/Weight: 6-4/205

Scout.com Bio Page

Official ASU Bio Page

High School Résumé: Set a county record in 2005 with a 72.4-percent passing completion rating…rated the No. 48 quarterback in the nation by Scout.com among the Class of 2007…threw for 2,038 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior in 2005 but missed much of his senior season due to injury…de-committed from USC to attend ASU and also had reported offers from Illinois, Mississippi, Purdue, Rutgers and Stanford.

Career College Stats: 5 GP/2 GS; 32-50 (64%); 362 Yards, 4 TD, 1 INT (One season; 2009)

Strengths: Mobility/Speed; Passing accuracy; Playmaking/improvising skills; Ability to escape the pocket and avoid pass rush; Compatibility with offense scheme; Team experience; Work ethic; Tremendous attitude; Exemplary student-athlete and active in the community.

Weaknesses: Health concerns; Arm strength; Game experience; Offseason surgery.

Fall Camp Outlook: When it comes to expectations for Szakacsy, as has been the case since his arrival in 2007, the only thing that's certain is that nothing is certain. Unquestionably the top athlete among quarterbacks—if not one of the best on the entire team—Szakacsy combines tremendous quickness and mobility with timely, accurate passing talents that enables him to be a major weapon in ASU's remodeled offense. The question mark, as always however, is Szakacsy's health. Szakacsy underwent offseason shoulder surgery earlier this year and thankfully it appears to be a "so far, so good" situation as he admits to feeling as healthy as he has since midway through his high school career when he pulled off historic feats in terms of passer accuracy.

Though his health has been greatly unpredictable, what has always been absolute and deserves credit is that Szakacsy has proven himself as the quintessential student-athlete and perhaps the most philanthropic member of the entire team. Recently named a Tillman Scholar for his efforts both in the classroom and the community while also having earned public notoriety for his public outreach efforts, Szakacsy has justifiably emerged into one of the team's clear fan favorites. If what goes around truly does come around, Szakacsy will remain healthy and remain a consistent contributor or starter over the final two seasons of his career, though time will tell if his stars truly will align.

Last season, Szakacsy essentially played in only two full games though credited with five appearances; he played one snap both against Washington and California, three quarters at Oregon in place of Brock Osweiler, a full starting effort at UCLA and was pulled after one quarter of play as a starter against Arizona. At times he showed unreal playmaking skills and others poor decision making abilities; a classic example of a highly talented player that primarily needs more live repetitions to help perfect his craft.

Heading into the fall, Szakacsy has the unique athletic advantage over his fellow Sun Devil quarterbacks which may enable him to earn time in special packages even if not the starter—and if healthy, he has a viable chance to regain the starting position—but his health again will determine his contribution level this season.

Burning Question: Will Szakacsy be able to remain healthy enough to stay in the quarterback competition?

Name: Steven Threet

Year: Redshirt junior

Birth date: Jan. 2, 1989

Hometown/School: Adrian, Mich./Adrian HS/University of Michigan

Height/Weight: 6-5/237

Scout.com Bio Page

Official ASU Bio Page

High School Résumé: Rated by Scout.com as the No. 13 quarterback prospect and a four-star recruit among the Class of 2007…threw for 1,896 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior and 1,528 yards and 19 touchdowns during his junior season…earned all-conference honors in both football and baseball...graduated early from Adrian High School to enroll at Georgia Tech but subsequently transferred to Michigan after the spring and redshirted in 2007…initially chose Georgia Tech over reported offers from Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Miami (Ohio), North Carolina State, Stanford and Wisconsin…upon his decision to transfer from Michigan, he also visited Oregon State before choosing to attend ASU.

Career College Stats: 11 GP/8 GS; 102-200 (51.0%); 1,105 yards, 9 TD, 7 INT (One season; 2008 at University of Michigan)

Strengths: Size; Arm strength; College experience; Starting experience in hostile Big Ten environments; Pocket awareness; Had the ability to mesh with the team while sitting out last season.

Weaknesses: Lack of momentum after a rough end to the spring; No playing experience at ASU; has never competed against Pac-10 teams and has not appeared in a game since November of 2008; Working under his fourth offensive coordinator and at in his third program in four college seasons.

Fall Camp Outlook: The general consensus is that Threet, who four months ago was the favorite of many to lead the offense, has to amend for his inconsistent spring in order to earn the starting nod to begin the season. Though his spring wasn't grossly awful, a three-interception final scrimmage performance certainly left a poor image of his play in the minds of observers. Despite the less-than-thrilling series of practices and scrimmages, Threet is not greatly distanced in the starting competition but in the minds of many if the season were to start today, Brock Osweiler likely would take the edge over the former University of Michigan starter.

The most distinct advantage Threet boasts is the starting experience he gained in 2008 while playing for the Wolverines, a season in which he was featured at quarterback to begin eight games and among other achievements he helped engineer a 20-point comeback win over a top-10 rated Wisconsin team—a program, of course, that ASU will face this season. Additionally, playing experience in fierce environments such as Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State—as well as a routine 100,000-plus fans at home in "The Big House"—undoubtedly provided Threet with a seasoning that no other Sun Devil quarterback can equal. Compound his one year of experience and a capable, live throwing arm and the reasons are clear why many felt he would earn the starting position with relative ease, however the main objective to get to that point will have to be a greater sense of consistency in leading the offense in practice.

If he is able to play in a noticeably consistent fashion from start to finish during the month of August at practice, Threet could advantageously earn the starting position however his performances will need to outshine the collective effort he submitted this spring.

Burning Question: Was Threet set too far back this spring to gain the starting nod this fall?

Name: Cole Rarrick

Year: Redshirt freshman

Birth date: Jan. 10, 1991

Hometown/School: Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro HS Height/Weight: 6-4/210

Scout.com Bio Page

Official ASU Bio Page

High School Résumé: One of Arizona's top quarterbacks during his senior season in 2008…was team captain and named honorable mention Desert Sky Conference…threw for 1,557 yards with 17 touchdowns and only five interceptions in addition to four rushing touchdowns as a senior, helping lead Saguaro to its third consecutive 4A-1 state championship…lettered in football and basketball at Saguaro…earned a two-star rating and opted to walk-on at ASU over scholarship offers from Northern Colorado and South Dakota…played with fellow Sun Devils Corey Adams, Kody Koebensky and Max Smith at Saguaro High School.

Strengths: Size; Mobility for his size; Winning experience at the high school level.

Weaknesses: No college playing experience; Only one year in the system on the scout team and only started one year at the high school level; A non-scholarship player.

Fall Camp Outlook: Though he likely will never have a substantial role at ASU, there is something to be said for a student-athlete that declines full scholarship offers to take a non-scholarship role at his school of preference. Rarrick has an excellent frame and is a solid overall athlete and comes from one of Arizona's top high school programs, so at worst he has the ability to be a more than adequate scout team participant. In 2010, his likely role is to compete on the scout team with true freshman Taylor Kelly, who is all but certain at this point to redshirt. Eventually, Rarrick could take on a third-string role or could use his time on the Sun Devil roster as an audition for a scholarship at a smaller football program.

Name: Taylor Kelly

Year: Freshman

Hometown/School: Eagle, Idaho/Eagle HS

Height/Weight: 6-3/185

Scout.com Bio Page

Official ASU Bio Page

High School Résumé: Rated as a three-star recruit and the No. 86 quarterback prospect in the nation by Scout.com for the Class of 2010…was named the Gatorade State Player of the Year for 2009-10…led Eagle High School to a Class 5A state championship in 2009…threw for 2,509 yards with 22 touchdowns and ran for 1,005 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior…added 35 tackles and 11 pass deflections as a defensive back…passed for 1,800 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior…runs a 4.65 40-yard dash…initially committed to Nevada before signing with ASU.

Strengths: A very mobile dual threat; A leader at the high school level; Accurate passer; Very enthusiastic to be a Sun Devil.

Weaknesses: Lacks prototypical size and arm strength; was not heavily recruited on a regional or national scale and likely faces a steep developmental path to become a contributing Pac-10 quarterback.

Fall Camp Outlook: The transition from Eagle High School to the Pac-10 Conference undoubtedly will prove too massive for Kelly to avoid redshirting as a true freshman this season. A probable candidate to be featured on the scout team along with Cole Rarrick, Kelly has the athleticism to develop into a player of a comparable mold to Samson Szakacsy given his lean frame, fleet-footed nature and accurate passing abilities. Eventually, it may not be out of the question that he uses his height and athletic talents to relocate positions to wide receiver or defensive back if formidable depth is maintained at quarterback over the next few years, though there are absolutely no indicators that makes that anything more than pure speculation.


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