If you take a long look at the Arizona State Sun Devils, you see a team that started the 2012 season very strong before major problems in the middle of the year were followed by three straight wins. It would seem that Arizona State is on the upswing, and the leader of that is quarterback Taylor Kelly. Kelly had just 19 incompletions over the last three games with 13 of those incomplete passes coming in one game. The potential is there for the junior to lead Arizona State to bigger and better things in 2013.
Kelly played very well in his first year as the starter with 29 touchdowns and only nine interceptions while passing for 3,039 yards. You can question Kelly’s size being just 6’1″, but I measure leadership by wins and losses. He did bring those, especially at the end of the regular season and into the team’s bowl game where he was 17-for-19 passing for 267 yards and four touchdowns. Those are definitely not numbers to take lightly.
There is always room for players to improve, and Kelly is another case of that. He took too many sacks last season, going down 31 times. You can blame the offensive line for part of that, but Kelly also has to get the ball out of his hands quicker. The Sun Devils will play five of their first seven games at home with another game in that stretch being at a neutral site. The schedule, however, has all of the hard games early on so even at home, Kelly will need a great start to the year. If he can get Arizona State through the first five games with four wins, the Sun Devils could find themselves with a nine-win season.