TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly goes through countless meetings each week alongside players and coaches. On Wednesday, though, he had one of the bigger meetings of his life: A one on one with former Sun Devil quarterback Jake Plummer.
Plummer and Kelly, both Idaho natives, met for a few hours at ASU’s football offices, discussing a wide range of topics.
“We spent two or three hours up there just talking about life, leadership, his experiences here, him in the (NFL) and him right now after getting done,” Kelly recalled after a spring practice Thursday. “It was very eye-opening and it was a lot of fun.”
It was not the first time Kelly and Plummer had connected. Plummer sent Kelly a few encouraging text messages before ASU’s big game with then No. 3 Orgeon last season. Kelly admits he was a little star struck then, but the pair has formed an increasingly strong bond since.
Plummer played at ASU from 1993-1996. He took over as the starting quarterback his sophomore season, and his senior year led ASU to its last Rose Bowl appearance before playing 10 NFL seasons with the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos. Kelly took over last season as a redshirt sophomore and hopes his relationship with Plummer can help elevate his game enough to lead the Sun Devils back to a Rose Bowl.
“It’s great just to have that relationship and be able to ask him what he sees all the time,” Kelly said. “I’m constantly just trying to improve my game, and listening to him and the things he sees I need to improve on will help out.”
Kelly last season passed for 3,039 yards and 29 touchdowns while throwing just nine interceptions. His 159.88 passer efficiency rating ranked ninth in the nation.
Plummer, who last year moved from Idaho to the suburbs of Denver, didn’t just meet with Kelly on his visit to Tempe. He also spent time meeting with all of ASU’s quarterbacks before practice Thursday morning and then joined the team for its final practice before the annual spring game Saturday.
“It was great to see Jake Plummer here today,” ASU coach Todd Graham said. “I know that Taylor lights up when he comes in the room, and obviously I kind of rub up against those guys that have been to the Rose Bowl. I want to rub some of that off on me. Just great wisdom, great Sun Devil, so it’s nice to have him here.”
Plummer observed as the quarterbacks went through practice with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Norvell. Afterward, he offered technical pointers to the group and spent time talking technique with Norvell, who was instrumental in developing Kelly last season.
Plummer had not been very visible around the program in recent years but has spoken highly of the work Graham has done in one season and is set to attend the spring game at Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday.
DEPTH CHART OUT
ASU released its spring depth chart Wednesday afternoon. While the depth chart will certainly change in fall camp when new recruits are in the mix, it contained a few interesting tidbits:
— Senior wide receiver Kevin Ozier is listed as the No. 1 “X” receiver over redshirt senior Alonzo Agwuenu. Redshirt sophomore Gary Chambers is listed as the top “Y” receiver and sophomore Richard Smith the top “Z” receiver.
— Mike Bercovici and Michael Eubank are both listed as the backup quarterback, though Bercovici is listed first. Eubank was listed first on the team’s depth chart last fall. The order could mean nothing, but it seems like there will be competition for the backup job in the fall.
— Redshirt freshman Laiu Moeakiola is the No. 1 field safety right now, replacing Keelan Johnson, and senior Robert Nelson is the No. 1 field cornerback, replacing Deveron Carr.
— Sophomore running back D.J. Foster is slotted as the top kick returner; Smith is the top punt returner.
— Redshirt sophomore Mo Latu, who appeared in 12 games on the offensive line last season, shifted to defensive line at practice Thursday. Graham said Thursday he considered the move last season. “Some people are defensive (minded),” Graham said. “I think it’s his natural position. I’ve always felt that. He wants to look at it, so we’re looking at it.”
— Redshirt junior running back Deantre Lewis left Thursday’s practice on a cart after being injured during 11-on-11 drills. Lewis had to be helped off the field, but it was unclear what his injury was. It appeared to be in the upper leg or groin area.