From a junior waiting his turn to Bear Bryant’s great grandson, intrigue defines ASU’s quarterback battle

A big priority for Arizona State during spring practice has been to take a close look at the quarterbacks and find the successor to Jayden Daniels. (Photo by Miles Aronson/Cronkite News)

TEMPE – With Arizona State’s 2022 Spring Football Showcase just a day away, the question lingers in Tempe: Who will be the starting quarterback for the Sun Devils at the start of the 2022 season?

After former ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels entered the transfer portal on Feb. 17, later opting to go to the SEC to play for LSU, the team has still yet to announce a starter at the position.

With a quarterback room consisting of juniors Paul Tyson and Trenton Bourguet, sophomore Daylin McLemore, redshirt freshman Finn Collins and freshmen Meredith Bennet and Oliver Towns, it was Bourguet who took on a leadership role as soon as Daniels left.

“Since Jayden entered the portal, I kind of took that role to make sure everybody’s on the same page,” Bourguet said. “ASU is still a special place. We have a lot of special coaches and players here and I think if we all stick together, we can really do something special.”

In Bourguet’s two years sitting behind Daniels, the 5-foot-11 quarterback has been able to see the field in five games, completing eight passes for 115 yards and one touchdown.

However, after former ASU offensive coordinator Zak Hill resigned earlier this year, Bourguet entered spring practices with an offensive system that he wasn’t accustomed to, now that former UNLV offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas is at the helm.

“Definitely the verbiage is a lot different, ” Bourguet said. “(Thomas) uses the tight ends like Coach (Zak) Hill did, so I think there’s some similarity in that. We try to keep some things the same, but a lot of new different verbiage, so it’s going to take some time.”

Although Bourguet has been in the Sun Devils program since 2019, it is newcomer Tyson who is looked at as his biggest competition to take the starting role.

Tyson, the great-grandson of legendary football coach Bear Bryant, is entering his first season with the Sun Devils after transferring from Alabama, where he served as the team’s backup during the 2021 season.

“At the University of Alabama I wouldn’t change a thing staying for three years. I really felt like I had a great experience and they really taught me to where I am today,” Tyson said.

The Trussville, Alabama, native credits ASU coach Herm Edwards for playing a major role in his decision to come to Tempe.

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“I felt like it was just a great opportunity for me, and with Coach Herm, and what he’s doing here and how all the players were bought in his process,” Tyson said. “I think it was just a great fit.”

After sitting in Alabama’s quarterback room with Mac Jones and Bryce Young, Tyson is no stranger to having competition at the quarterback position. That is why he is enjoying his time competing with Bourguet, McLemore and the others.

“It’s fantastic, honestly. It keeps the competition going. Everyone’s pushing each other, because we all at the end of the day want the best player to play, and we want to go win a Pac-12 championship,” Tyson said. “We’re all pushing each other, and it’s honestly a great experience to be out there with all five guys with such great spirit.”

The other quarterbacks on the roster have enjoyed the addition of Tyson to the team, not only for his play on the field, but for the chemistry that he brings to the locker room.

“One thing about Paul, he’s a really smart football guy coming from Alabama. He knows his X’s and O’s,” Bourguet said. “He’s really talkative, a really good friend, but it’s been really good to bring somebody new in and just bring that room up a little bit.”

Another quarterback who is looking to contend for the starting role is redshirt sophomore McLemore.

Although he hasn’t seen live game action at ASU, he has been in the quarterback room since 2020, learning from Bourguet and Daniels.

“I came in behind Jayden Daniels, wanting to learn from him a lot,” McLemore said. “Now that he left, there’s an opportunity to get the starting job, so I think the scout team reps, the second team reps and all that have just prepared me better for this quarterback competition.”

“Competition always brings out the best in people. Having other quarterbacks in the room is super helpful just because you can learn from them, see their mistakes, and see where they’re good,” McLemore said.

Although Bourguet is surrounded by five other quarterbacks who are looking to take the starting role, his only goal is to improve his own skill set as a quarterback.

“Personally, (I’m) just trying to be the best quarterback I can be, not worry about the other other quarterbacks in the room, and try to get better each and every day,” Bourguet said. “Obviously we all want to win, but at this position there’s only one guy on the field. We’re trying to push each other, make each other better, and at the end of the day the best guy will play.”

Jeremiah Sosa Je-re-my-ah So-sa
Sports Reporter, Phoenix

Jeremiah Sosa expects to graduate in spring 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism. Sosa, who is interning with Eculues Group Publishing, has interned with La Prensa Texas and The Arizona Republic. He is working for the Phoenix sports bureau.

Miles Aronson Mi-les Air-uhn-suhn
Sports Visual Journalist, Phoenix

Miles Aronson expects to graduate in May 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism. Aronson is working for the Phoenix news and sports bureaus.