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Bluff Called: Arizona State Reveals True Feelings on Current QB Talent

The bluff was called, and now the entire country knows exactly how ASU feels about its quarterback situation.
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Arizona State football and the transfer portal have become synonymous over the last few months.

On Thursday, linebacker Eric Gentry and receiver Ricky Pearsall decided to hit the transfer portal, becoming the latest of more than 10 Sun Devils to wave adios to a program that just can't seem to find their footing on or off the field.

Prior to those moves, Arizona State was stuck in a portal loop at quarterback.

First, the Sun Devils welcomed the talents of transfer quarterback Paul Tyson from Alabama. Shortly after, three-year starter Jayden Daniels dipped and found a new home at LSU. That of course came just months after publicly announcing he was returning to Arizona State for another season. 

Then, on the first day of spring practice, head coach Herm Edwards raised a few eyebrows when he made the following comments

"Is the quarterback here? Is he not here? We don't know that. Hopefully he's in the building. If not, there's always plan B (the transfer portal). I always said, a plan that can't be changed is a bad plan. So if you have a plan doing something and it has to be changed, you better be in a position to change it. And so we'll be in position to do what we have to do to make sure we get the best quarterback to play the position.

"Hopefully the guy is here. I'd love for that to happen. We don't know that yet because it's the first day of practice. That's where it's at."

Prior to spring ball, the quarterback competition was believed to be down to Tyson and the returning Trenton Bourguet. 

Edwards' comments left the door open for an outside contestant to enter the sweepstakes at any moment, and that door never closed over the course of Arizona State's 15 practices. Neither Bourguet or Tyson managed to show significant leaps over the other, as no separation was gained.

Following the spring showcase, Edwards wasn't ready to crown a winner of the quarterback battle quite yet.

He said, "But the offense now, as you know, we're battling at quarterback. That's still a battle, it will still continue until we get into the summer. But I thought tonight there were some signs. We were very simple. We were gonna keep it simple. We didn't create a lot of formations, didn't do a lot of things on offense, had one running play basically. Zone right, zone left, a couple passes and that was it."

Edwards also mentioned the team had "about seven or eight" scholarships ready to use in the transfer portal.

The two front-runners in Bourguet and Tyson each bring their own skill set to the table. 

Bourguet is considered to be a better game manager under center while having a leg up on Tyson in terms of mobility. Tyson fit ASU's shift into a pro-style offense with prototypical size and arm strength to push the ball downfield. 

Each passer has attributes to like. However, in the eyes of Arizona State, there's nothing to love. The upside of a guy such as Daniels isn't there, regardless of how he performed his last two years at ASU. 

To welcome a new passer at this point in the offseason would be tough. A newcomer wouldn't have the luxury of spring practice to showcase what he's capable of doing in front of coaches in a simulated setting, while also being behind on factors such as learning the playbook and establishing chemistry with receivers. 

It would be tough, but not impossible. Especially for a talented signal-caller. 

Yet with a slew of superstar quarterbacks already off the market in college football's version of free agency, the Sun Devils were cornered. Arizona State would soon be forced to reveal exactly what they thought of their current quarterback situation. 

If ASU didn't welcome any visitors, the coaching staff could be considered satisfied with their current crop of guys. Should Arizona State entertain outside options, that would tell you all you needed to know.

So when news broke of former Florida Gators quarterback Emory Jones visiting Arizona State this weekend, the saying "actions speak louder than words" rang especially true for the Sun Devils football program. 

Regardless whether Jones actually commits to Arizona State or not is a moot point, at least in this discussion. ASU sent a message loud and clear: We are not comfortable with our quarterback room. 

It's not surprising that Arizona State is at least putting itself in the market to upgrade the position. After all, the quarterback is the most important player on the field. With a considerably slim depth chart in terms of actual experience, ASU has all the right to pursue a guy such as Jones. 

A source told All Sun Devils during spring practice sessions closed to the media (after about an hour, when team drills really got going), Bourguet looked to be the strongest passer on the team.  

Opinions on who Arizona State would end up crowning as the winner varied. Would Bourguet's size come back to haunt him? Would ASU force Tyson to start due to his profile and prowess arriving from Alabama? 

Here's what appears to be the truth: The Sun Devils weren't completely sold on Bourguet. That's how Tyson ended up at ASU. Both were expected to compete when Daniels eventually left, although Arizona State believed that would be after the 2022 season. 

Now, after getting a hands-on look at Tyson, the search continues for another suitor. As it turns out, being a descendent of Paul Bryant and practicing against Alabama's defense doesn't matter when you move across the country to a brand new team. 

It felt as if ASU knew from the jump their current crop wouldn't cut it.

Don't mistake the aforementioned words for hate or confuse evaluations for rooting interests. Bourguet and Tyson are tremendous young men and teammates. There is no agenda or narrative being pushed here.

Regardless of who the starter will be in Week 1, Arizona State fans should cheer and encourage whoever is under center.

Jones is not a done deal to sign with ASU. Even though he would be expected to start upon arrival, the other five quarterbacks (maybe less, as you figure at least one passer would transfer in this scenario) would be wise to push themselves even harder and make the coaching staff think twice about Jones. 

However, it appears Edwards and the rest of the offensive staff have made up their minds. 

The quarterback competition can go a variety of ways, as this offseason carries potential to be one of the more memorable in recent memory. 

Should no outside help arrive from the transfer portal, the Sun Devils at least know what they have in their guys. Yet, there's a reason Arizona State has metaphorically posted a "Help Wanted" sign across the nation. 

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