This past offseason has been a tumultuous one for the Arizona State Sun Devils football team. Running back Deantre Lewis was shot and was hospitalized. Quarterback Samson Szakacsy left the football team to pursue other interests. Now Steven Threet, who was the starting quarterback for most of the 2010 season, has announced that he is leaving football behind because of his health.
After suffering four concussions in five years and still suffering the effects of a concussion he sustained during the last football season, Threet has decided that he needs to walk away now. It was surely a difficult decision and probably the right one. Head injuries are nothing to laugh at. People need a healthy brain to be functioning members of society.
However, while we should all applaud him for making such a choice while being so young and at the same time feel bad for him as he is leaving behind something that has been a constant in his life for many years, we should also note the effect this decision will have on the Sun Devil football team.
Threet was the most experienced quarterback on the roster. He played in eight games at Michigan before transferring to Arizona State. He started every game in 2010 until his head injury kept him out of the season finale against Arizona.
With both Threet and Szakacsy gone, junior Brock Osweiler is the only quarterback on the roster with any playing experience. He has only started two games at the college level. He was seen as the favorite to take over the starting job in 2011 after a great showing in relief of Threet against UCLA and after leading the Devils to a victory over Arizona.
However, with high expectations in 2011 for the Sun Devils, the lack of experience could become a problem. Outside of Osweiler, there is only redshirt freshman Taylor Kelly and true freshman and early enrollee Michael Bercovici. Michael Eubanks, recently signed to Arizona State, will likely join the team after he graduates from high school. Coach Dennis Erickson is very high on Kelly's playmaking abilities and both Bercovici and Eubanks are top-ten rated quarterback recruits coming out of high school.
So while there is lack of experience, there is no dearth in talent. It is for this reason that Threet was never even mentioned at the Sun Devil Signing Day banquet. The team was not counting on his return and they are very pleased with their current group of QBs.
But in a year where so much is expected from this Sun Devil team, when the most experienced guy throwing the ball has only two starts under his belt and one full game, there is definitely reason to worry a little about the prospects of the season.