ASU’s big concern: Who will back up Bercovici at QB?

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                </div>  The quarterback position will be a strength for Arizona State football this season as the Sun Devils enter the 2015 campaign as the pre-season No. 12 team in the […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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The quarterback position will be a strength for Arizona State football this season as the Sun Devils enter the 2015 campaign as the pre-season No. 12 team in the country.

However, it also has the potential to be the weak link that scuttles a promising season.

ASU lost its starting quarterback from last season, Taylor Kelly, but probably won’t skip a beat in transitioning to Mike Bercovici.  The strong-armed senior played in four games last season when Kelly was sidelined with injuries, starting three of those, and beat two ranked teams (USC & Stanford). In the process, he set a new school record by becoming the first quarterback in program history to pass for more than 400 yards in his first two career starts.

In his limited time on center stage, he completed 61.8 per cent of his passes, throwing for 1,445 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Bercovici, who was recruited to the program by former head coach Dennis Erickson, had a chance to take on the starting role back in 2012, but Kelly beat him out for the job.  So Berco patiently waited his turn and now takes over following Kelly’s graduation.

Not only does he have the physical skills to step into the starting role – and has already proven it – but he also brings an innate sense of confidence, strong work ethic, and solid leadership to the party.

With Bercovici under center, the Sun Devils should compete for the Pac-12 title this year.  However, that’s a fragile foundation on which to build their hopes.  The players standing behind Bercovici on the depth chart are all freshmen.

Fourth-year head coach Todd Graham was very fortunate to be able to turn to Bercovici when Kelly went down last year, getting a solid performance that helped the Devils win a couple of important games and preserve their 10-win record.

But Bercovici had some seasoning before he got the call last season.  He saw action in a couple of games as a freshman after coming into the program as the No. 7 quarterback recruit in the country, and then played in four games as a redshirt sophomore.  He redshirted during the 2012 season, so he had three seasons to gain an in-depth knowledge of the offensive system before being asked to start his first game as a junior.

That’s not the case with those that will be backing him up now.

Manny Wilkins was a four-star prospect out of California who took a redshirt season in 2014. Coming out of San Marin High School, where he threw for 2,195 yards and 21 TDs as a senior, he was ranked as the No. 13 dual-threat quarterback in the country by ESPN and the No. 14 overall QB prospect by Scout.com.

But he has no experience at the college level.

Brady White is a true freshman and another four-star recruit that had general consensus among the major rating services as a top-10 prospect.  Rivals.com had him rated as the second-best pro style quarterback in the nation. He threw for 3,725 yards as a senior at Hart High in California, piling up 45 touchdowns.

But he has no experience at the college level.

And then there’s the local favorite, Bryce Perkins, who last season led Chandler High School to its first state championship since 1949.  Another four-star prospect, he set single-season records for passing yards (3.001)  and passing touchdowns (46) in his senior season at Chandler High and finished his prep career with 5,332 passing yards. ESPN ranked him as the No. 14 dual-threat QB in the country.

But he has no experience at the college level.

Get the picture?  The Sun Devils have plenty of warm bodies they can throw into the game should Bercovici get injured.  But the sum total of their game experience is zero.

Graham doesn’t have a 2014 Bercovici that he can use to back up his 2015 Bercovici.

And that should be enough to keep Graham and his staff on edge all season long.

(Photo: ASU Athletics)