ASU’s Kelly puts focus on team success, not his own

After a breakout season which included 30 touchdowns and over 3,500 yards of total offense Taylor Kelly is still taking it all in stride.

Some things never change.

The redshirt junior is modest yet confident. It’s never about him but the team. The coaches who put him in situations for success and the players who make plays around him.

But make no mistake the Eagle, Idaho native is the head of the dragon that makes offensive coordinator Mike Norvell’s fast-pace offense move. His versatility keeps opposing defense’s off-balance and honest against the run and pass.

His quick rise up the Pac-12 pecking order of signal-callers has caught the attention of many, including Pac-12 Network analyst Rick Neuheisel who told he believes Kelly’s one of the best quarterbacks in the nation.

“It’s humbling,” Kelly explained to Brad Cesmat in a recent interview on ‘Big Guy on Sports.’ “It’s an honor to get that respect from people…I have a lot of goals to the best in the country. I’m working every single day with my teammates…we’re working at [it] as a team.”

Kelly said the kind words he’ll use a reminder to work even harder this summer to prove Neuheisel correct going into the fall. It’s all about respect and that’s something he can appreciate. Kelly pulled away in what was considered a three-quarterback battle last year separating himself from Michael Eubank and Mike Bercovici.

Those days seem like a distant memory. Now the spotlight on Kelly and the Sun Devils (8-5, 5-4 last season) is much bigger and brighter than early 2012 when nobody exactly knew what to expect under first-year coach Todd Graham and an overhauled roster. The task at hand, even with both sides of the ball returning plenty of playmakers, includes a rough early-season stretch after opening at home against Sacramento State on September 5.

“[The schedule] is huge,” he told Cesmat. “We have a bunch of championship caliber teams on our schedule with the Big 10 and Pac-12 champions [Wisconsin and Stanford, respectively] and a team that played in the National Championship Game [Notre Dame] so it’s going to be a great schedule.”

Let the games begin.