Sun Devil Preview: QB Michael Eubankby Fabian Ardaya on Aug. 13, 2013, under Arizona State Sun Devils
TEMPE, Ariz–Michael Eubank has had a bit of an odd journey at Arizona State University ever since being a highly recruited high school prospect, yet has been unfazed the entire way and looks to continue to take on any challenge in his path.
After being recruited to ASU as a four-star recruit out of Centennial (Cal.) High School, Eubank was redshirted by then-head coach Dennis Erickson. He would spend his freshman season as a scout team quarterback for a team loaded with talent at that position (including current Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler).
Eubank finally got his opportunity to step up into the starting quarterback position as a redshirt freshman last season, as Osweiler’s departure left open a wide open race that ultimately would come down to Eubank, Mike Bercovici, and an upstart in Taylor Kelly. Eubank and Kelly would both win out the job, as new head coach Todd Graham decided to redshirt Bercovici and install a two-quarterback system with Kelly and Eubank. The pair would get off to a very strong start with early victories over Northern Arizona University and the University of Illinois (by a combined score of 108-20).
However, it would be Kelly who would stand up to take the job, capping off a surprising year throwing for 3,039 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, and just nine interceptions. Eubank, meanwhile, would lose playing time and finish with just 330 passing yards and four touchdowns, along with three interceptions. Eubank also ran for 223 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.
Now, going into his redshirt sophomore year, Eubank will have to fight his way back from third string, as he is currently behind Bercovici (a redshirt sophomore as well) and Kelly, a redshirt junior. Eubank, however, is unfazed and is prepared for whenever his name might be called.
“I’m just making sure to stay in tune with the offense, going to meetings. I’m doing my job just making sure I know my role,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of new packages for me this season.”
Some of those new packages could be when the Sun Devils are in the red zone. While in the dual-quarterback system last season, Todd Graham would often feature Eubank mostly in the red zone and around the goal line, as Eubank’s arm and legs could be a factor.
“It gives a very diverse ability to our offense. You can’t expect me to hand the ball off every time, and if I do have the ball, I can go and get six myself.”
Eubank has remained determined this offseason to ensure that he continues to improve and work on his craft as a football player and a quarterback.
“I’ve worked on my foot speed, and I’ve gotten a lot quicker. I’ve lost about 20 pounds and leaned up” Eubank said. “My accuracy has gotten a lot better. Just mentally getting better. I just need my reps, that’s all.”
In the end, it is all friendly competition for the starting quarterback spot.
“It’s all good. I mean, we aren’t enemies. We know we’re in competition, but we’re all really good guys,” he said. “I room with (Bercovici) right now for camp, and it’s going well. I roomed with Taylor (Kelly) last season, and we’re all really good guys.”
Starting the 2013-14 season as a third string quarterback, it will be interesting to see if the talented sophomore could become an unsung hero and role layer for the Pac-12 South contenders.