Taylor Kelly came out of nowhere last spring to take control of the starting quarterback position in Todd Graham‘s first year as head coach with the Arizona State Sun Devils. With a full season under his belt, Kelly won’t be resting on his laurels as he continues to push himself to not only hold onto the starter’s job, but to take the next step as a quarterback in 2013.
When Kelly won the job last season, it came as a pretty big surprise and was seen as a major risk by Graham to go with the unheralded and relatively unknown sophomore. That risk paid huge dividends as Kelly went on to throw for more than 3,000 yards with 29 touchdowns against nine interceptions. He finished No. 2 in the Pac 12 and No. 7 in the FBS in quarterback efficiency.
And Kelly plans to be even better in year two. The junior signal caller has worked tirelessly this offseason to continue improving his grasp of the position while building improved chemistry with the Sun Devils’ receiving corps. Kelly has focused his offseason work on his footwork and film study, particularly ASU’s five losses last season which were the five games Kelly threw at least one interception.
Graham is doing his part to make sure Kelly doesn’t get too comfortable as the No. 1 quarterback, giving Michael Eubank and Mike Bercovici reps this spring to create an atmosphere of competition. Kelly recognizes that the job isn’t promised to him and continues to work at every practice with the same chip on his shoulder that earned him the job last season.
It will take a Herculean effort this spring to unseat Kelly as the starting quarterback for 2013, as the junior has come back focused on becoming an even better leader next fall. Can Kelly take the Sun Devils over the top next season?