Osweiler Moves up Quarterback Ranks at Arizona State

By Beacon Staff

When Brock Osweiler arrived at Arizona State University for spring football, he was sixth on the quarterback depth chart for the Sun Devils.

Now he’s third and battling for the starting position.

Not bad for a kid who would still be in high school if he hadn’t graduated early to get a head start on a collegiate football career that is already showing promise. Spring ball ended on April 18 with a scrimmage in which Osweiler, a Flathead High School graduate, threw for 66 yards on 7-for-14 passing. He had two interceptions.

In the past month, two quarterbacks have left the team. Jack Elway, the son of NFL legend John Elway, decided to give up football and Chasen Stangel transferred, leaving senior Danny Sullivan at the top spot on the depth chart and sophomore Samson Szakacsy right ahead of Osweiler.

“My biggest goal coming out of spring ball was to be top three; top three travels with the team and gets reps during the season,” Osweiler said. “I’m cool with that. I’m still in the mix of things and I’m here if they need me.”

Osweiler, the 6-foot-8 former Braves star, has been taking classes at ASU but will return to Montana for a month in May to spend time at home. On June 6, he’ll formally graduate from high school and then it’s back to Tempe for football camp.

If a starter hasn’t been named by then, Osweiler will continue gunning for the top spot, giving him invaluable experience as a true freshman. He hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll declare redshirt status.

Osweiler said his coaches have helped ease the transition into big-time college football. By working with Osweiler individually for hours in the earliest days of winter conditioning and spring ball, the coaches prepared the 18-year-old for the speed and schemes of the college level. Osweiler said by the time he began taking reps in practice, he felt ready.

He’s been studying the playbook, honing his mechanics and constantly learning the subtleties of the college game.

“I really didn’t know exactly what to expect,” Osweiler said. “You hear stories about college football, but I was kind of clueless, almost. But it’s been a lot of fun.”

Following his senior season at Flathead High School in the fall, Osweiler was named the Montana Gatorade Football Player of the Year. He broke three records his senior year, throwing for 29 touchdowns and scoring 42 total to go along with his 3,463 total yards – 2,703 passing and 760 rushing. For his career, he gained 9,765 total yards and scored 100 touchdowns.

Once a prized basketball recruit who initially verbally committed to play at Gonzaga University, Osweiler garnered significant national attention on the gridiron his junior and senior years. Sports Illustrated wrote a blurb about him, analyzing how his size will translate to the football field as opposed to the basketball court. Opposing coaches have called him the greatest quarterback to ever come out of the state’s high school system.

Though a number of top schools showed interest in Osweiler, he decided on ASU for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that he felt he could be battling for the starting position early in his career. He also liked the idea of working with head coach Dennis Erickson, who had a stellar career as a quarterback at Montana State University. As a head coach, Erickson won two national championships at the University of Miami and also has NFL experience.

“Coach Erickson’s great,” Osweiler said. “He’s kind of got a few different personalities – he knows when it’s time to be serious, but he also likes to lighten things up.”

The Sun Devils are coming off a disappointing season in which they finished toward the bottom of the Pac-10 with a 5-7 record. But a solid recruiting class and fresh start has spirits high in Tempe. Osweiler is excited and it’s not just because of football. Calling Tempe “unreal,” Osweiler is happy to bask in the sunny days and warm weather.

He also said his teammates have embraced him and he hasn’t had any trouble transitioning from high school to campus life. Now that spring ball is over, he’ll continue working out on his own time but he also plans to enjoy the break before things pick up again in June.

“I’m going to get to the pool as often as I can and work on that tan,” Osweiler said.

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