ASU Football: How Proposed Redshirt Rule Affects the Sun Devils

Oct 8, 2016; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Dillon Sterling-Cole against the UCLA Bruins at Sun Devil Stadium. The Sun Devils defeated the Bruins 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2016; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Dillon Sterling-Cole against the UCLA Bruins at Sun Devil Stadium. The Sun Devils defeated the Bruins 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

A proposal was made to the NCAA about a new redshirt rule for the future of college football. What could the new rule mean for ASU football?

The Division I Football Competition Committee had a meeting last week to discuss possible rule changes going forward for college football and one proposal was nearly unanimously agreed on by coaches from coast to coast. They want a change to the redshirt rules.

Currently, the redshirt rule states that a freshman can redshirt to protect a year of eligibility, essentially giving them five years to the program. The player is allowed to practice and workout with the team, but if that player plays a single down in a game his redshirt is burned and he loses the extra year of eligibility.

A perfect example was from last season as starting quarterback Manny Wilkins went down with a leg injury against USC, then freshman Brady White started the following week against UCLA but went down himself with an ankle injury that cost him the rest of the season.

The Sun Devils, who were depleted at the quarterback position, were forced to put redshirt Dillon Sterling-Cole into the game and burn his redshirt.

Sterling-Cole would go on to play the remainder of the UCLA game, and three other games against Washington State, Oregon and Utah. Had the new rule been in place, Sterling-Cole would still have four remaining years of eligibility opposed to his three he currently has.

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The committee, headed by Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson as well as coaches from around the country sent a proposal to the NCAA asking to revise the rule to give redshirt players up to four games to play during a redshirt season according to Fox Sports Stewart Mandel.

Now if change comes, what could it mean for the Sun Devils? While the change likely wouldn’t be put into place until the 2018 season if approved, for the sake of the here and now, we’ll use the current ASU football team. Now keep in mind, that all the players mentioned below may or may not redshirt this upcoming season, it is all merely speculation.

The QB Competition would have one more piece

The biggest story of the spring and what will be the biggest story of the summer up until the first offensive possession on August 31 for the Sun Devils is who will be the starting quarterback?

It is a two-horse race at this point with Manny Wilkins and Blake Barnett battling it out. But if the new redshirt rule was in place, the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the state of Arizona last season, Ryan Kelley, would have a shot at being the starter.

Kelley is most likely going to redshirt this season barring any injury or an unbelievable summer from him, but if he had four games to play. It is not out of the question that Kelley could end up being the starter if he performed as well as a lot of people from around the program say he can.

Kelley could get a few possessions week one against New Mexico State to see how he performs. If he shines then he can keep playing up to four games and still have four years of eligibility heading into next season. If he struggles, he just redshirts, but he knows what division one football feels like.

A deeper and more experienced secondary

Having the worst pass defense in the history of college football is something that will not happen again if defensive coordinator Phil Bennett has anything to say about it.

With three top defensive back recruits in cornerback Alex Perry and safeties K.J. Jarrell and Evan Fields in the freshman class for this season, the future is definitely bright for the Sun Devils defense.

With parts of the secondary returning from last season and multiple open spots, including one at safety following the retirement of Armand Perry due to injuries.

Chase Lucas looks to have one of the openings all his to lose, as Jarrell and Fields are likely to battle it out with Maurice Chandler and others for the safety spot, while Alex Perry along with the loser of the position battle will likely redshirt.

Whether or not any or all of these players are redshirted, with how the ASU secondary has been in the last few years, the more options to help at any given time would be a more than welcome sight.

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Now it is tough to say for sure what effects that any rule change could have on college football and the Sun Devils, but with the ability to let players who look ready to play as a freshman such as a Ryan Kelley or an Eno Benjamin (RB) get valuable experience. Open position battles in the early parts of the non-conference schedule to get a true look at young players in game situations. Or just protect players from injuries late in the season and come bowl time where it looks as if future draft prospects may choose to sit out their bowl games. It’s tough to look at a proposal like this in a bad light.

Let us know what you think of the proposal and what is something that you would like to see brought up with the NCAA to help college football? Be sure to leave your ideas and comments down below.