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Young Quarterbacks Slowly Adjusting to Learning Curve

Arizona State's young corps of quarterbacks has had quite the time making the jump from high school to college.

TEMPE -- There's a very select amount of people who can play quarterback at any level of football, let alone at a Power 5 program like Arizona State. 

No matter where you play, fully grasping an offense from a mental standpoint while also physically handling duties every snap warrants the mega-deals some quarterbacks see at the next level. 

ASU's quarterback battle now ramps up as the Sun Devils prepare for their last week of spring practice. 

Although Arizona State touts five quarterbacks on the roster, two major players have emerged as serious candidates: Paul Tyson and Trenton Bourguet. 

The jury is still out on which of the two is expected to win the starting job, but all signs and roads lead to either Bourguet or Tyson huddling the team to begin the 2022 season. 

So, what about the other three quarterbacks on the roster who have a combined zero passes thrown at the college field? 

Sure, they'll get to compete. However, all three are still considered too raw and inexperienced to be given the keys to the car at this point in their respective careers, especially when it comes to learning an entirely new offense on the go.

One of those three, Bennett Meredith, put things in perspective when he said, "It's like bullets flying when you get out there coming from high school, like I was in high school three months ago. So you get out there the first time and you see the first -team defense, you're like, 'Wow, these guys are pretty big.' The guys speed up a little bit, the game's just a lot faster in every aspect.

"So I feel like that was the biggest jump for me. Speeding, drops, recognition, just timing and pretty much everything is just so much faster."

While Meredith continues to adjust to life as a college quarterback, he at least carries charisma that's on par with a national champion.

"I feel like swag, you know, you can't really talk like it's just what you wear and stuff. It's just like a moxie you have to you. I just feel like I'm bringing it to the table," he said. "Everybody can look at you and know he's gonna execute the play. He knows what to do and he's gonna execute, I feel like that's swag."

Finn Collins, a redshirt freshman who arrived at Arizona State last season, was able to shed a bit more light on the transition from high school to college.

"The biggest thing is just understanding the offense in general. I didn't really have a very complex offense in high school, obviously I moved around a lot in high school so I was always changing but never like coach (Zak) Hill's offense coming into that, with all the verbiage it was just crazy," Collins said. "Like it was all over the place and just a bunch of information and condensing it and really trying to analyze it and understand it (was my biggest focus). So that's definitely something I've felt that I progressed with a lot I'd say. Just understanding what the defenses were doing and just sort of things like that."

It's easy to forget that the transition for these players not only happens on the field, but also in the locker room and classroom. 

Collins said, "As a freshman it's definitely harder (to establish yourself as a leader), you just have to create relationships with everybody and just be cool with everybody. Obviously, no one's really going to look at you as (the leader of the team), especially when Jayden was the quarterback last year.

"When I was looking at Jayden, I was just a scrawny little freshman so it was just really building relationships with guys and not really worrying about like, 'Oh my gosh, I've gotta be the leader. I'm gonna do all this stuff.' I'm just trying to figure out what I'm going to do with everything (in my first year in school). Just figuring out my life was what I was really focusing on last year and just becoming a man, living on my own and all the other freshman college stuff was what I was really worried about.

"Obviously in the second year, I'm trying to focus on more becoming a leader and showing guys by example what I can do and just more things like that."

Redshirt sophomore Daylin McLemore, the most experienced of the three, was able to peel back the curtains of the quarterback room led by offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Glenn Thomas.

"He's a funny guy. He cracks a lot of jokes in meetings, keeps the room loose and not super tight. We're having a good time. He has a lot of knowledge So it's good to learn from him," McLemore said of Thomas.

McLemore is arguably the most improved passer during spring practice thus far, as he attributes his growth to all the practice reps he's taken over the years. 

He said, "Just developing my overall game as a quarterback. I came in behind Jayden Daniels, and I learned from him a lot. Now that he left, there's an opportunity for the starting job so I think the scout-team reps, the second-team reps, all of that has prepared me better for this quarterback competition.

"Competition always brings the best out of people. Having four other quarterbacks in the room is super helpful just because you learn from them and see their mistakes."

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