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The Arizona State Sun Devils played their very first season in 1897, and have since produced several legendary NFL players. Pat Tillman leads the list, going on to become a great Arizona Cardinal and an American hero, who gave his life for his country. Others include Terrell Suggs, Darren Woodson, Charley Taylor, and Mike Haynes. But who are the greatest quarterbacks to suit up for the Sun Devils?

ASU Quarterbacks History

This list of Arizona State Sun Devil quarterbacks is quite a diverse group. Jake Plummer is one of the best to ever play at ASU, but the list includes names such as Brock Osweiler, who spent several years in the NFL, and Jeff Van Raaphorst, one of ASU’s best talents in the 80s.

Current ASU players in the NFL

Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is perhaps the most impressive Sun Devil in the NFL right now. Aiyuk was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the first round of the 2020 draft and is developing into one of the Niners key pieces offensively.

Kicker Zane Gonzales is one of the league's best kickers, he too is a former Sun Devil, along with young corner Chase Lucas, who is a member of the Detroit Lions and featured on the 2022 series of Hard Knocks as one of the series' focus players. 

Ranking the 10 best Arizona State Quarterbacks of all time

There have been some truly great players in Arizona State Sun Devil history, including the legendary Pat Tillman. Today, we’re ranking the top 10 best ASU QBs of all time.

10. Mike Bercovici (2011-2015)

Hometown - Northridge, California

Mike Bercovici was the Arizona State successor to Taylor Kelly, the teams all-time total offense leader. When Kelly moved on to the NFL Draft, Bercovici came in as the team’s starter in his fourth year with the program.

2015 would be his only year as the starting quarterback, but he had come in the previous season to cover for an injured Kelly. Bercovici played well in that time, throwing 12 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions. Five of those came against USC, in a game where he threw for 510 yards.

He continued to play well in 2015, throwing for 3,854 yards and 30 touchdowns, throwing nine picks. His performance is tied first for the most passing touchdowns in a single season by an ASU quarterback.

9. Brock Osweiler (2009-2011)

Hometown - Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Brock Osweiler is also a former ASU quarterback. He only played one season as the starter for the Sun Devils, but he made the very most of it. In his first two years, Osweiler had featured, but only started two games. He had to be patient and wait for his opportunity, and when Steven Threet retired due to numerous concussions, Osweiler got his shot.

When the Sun Devils turned to Brock Osweiler, he showed up, throwing for 4,036 yards and 26 touchdowns to 13 interceptions in a single season. In doing so, he set the school record for passing yards in a single year.

Osweiler was selected in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He never started a game until the Broncos Super Bowl 50 season, when he came in as relief for the injured Peyton Manning. He kept the team trending towards the playoffs and finished the regular season with a 4-2 record as the team's starter.

Having won a Super Bowl ring, Osweiler went on to short spells with the Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins, but never lived up to the expectations of his contract value. He spent seven seasons in the NFL.

8. Rudy Carpenter (2005-2008)

Hometown - Westlake Village, California

Having sat the first half of his freshman year, Rudy Carpenter took over as the team's quarterback for the final five games of the season. He played well and was the most efficient quarterback in the country during that period, throwing 17 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

The following season, Carpenter beat out former starter Sam Keller, who transferred away from ASU after the decision was made that Rudy would start for the team.

Carpenter would play for three full seasons as the starter for the Sun Devils. He threw for over 10,000 yards during his time with the team, and totaled 81 passing touchdowns to 35 interceptions.

Carpenter is ranked second all-time on the Arizona State passing yards and total offense list, as well as passing touchdowns.

7. Taylor Kelly (2011-2014)

Hometown - Eagle, Idaho

Taylor Kelly was originally the back up to Brock Osweiler, before taking over as the team's quarterback as a redshirt sophomore.

The Idaho native went on to throw for 8,819 yards across three seasons as the teams starting quarterback. Kelly started 37 games during that period, having missed three in his senior season due to injury.

Despite missing those games towards the end of his ASU career, Kelly now holds multiple Sun Devils records, including all-time total offense, single-season total offense, and combined passing and rushing touchdowns, both career (92), and single season (37).

Kelly threw 79 passing touchdowns to just 26 interceptions during his tenure, while rushing for another 13. He was never given a shot in the NFL, going undrafted and only receiving one workout invite from the Arizona Cardinals, but Kelly stayed close to the game, and is now a high school quarterbacks coach.

6. Mike Pagel (1978-1981)

Hometown - Jasper, Indiana

Mike Pagel was a two-year starter for the Sun Devils, spending four seasons with the team between 1978 and 1981. He officially took over as the team’s starter in 1980, and would go on to throw for over 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns.

In 1981, Pagel improved further, throwing for 2,484 yards and 29 touchdowns plus four rushing TDs, in one of the most successful quarterback seasons in Sun Devil history. That year, Pagel had seven total touchdowns against Stanford, which is a record that still stands today. His 33 all-purpose touchdowns ranks third in the school's history.

Pagel spent 12 seasons in the NFL, largely serving as a backup.

5. Mark Malone (1977-1979)

Hometown - El Cajon, California

Mark Malone is one of the most athletic talents to have played quarterback for the Sun Devils. In 1975, he was the number one recruit in the country at the quarterback position.

He went on to start for the Sun Devils for two seasons, throwing 23 touchdowns to 28 interceptions as a passer. However, as a dual-threat athlete, he did rush for another 21 touchdowns while quarterbacking the team, contributing over 1,300 rushing yards during his time at ASU.

Malone went on to spend eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who drafted him in the first round of the 1980 NFL Draft.  He tied Terry Bradshaw's record for passing touchdowns in a single game, throwing five against the Indianapolis Colts on the opening day of the 1985 season. Malone is the fourth all-time passing leader for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

4. Andrew Walter (2001-2004)

Hometown - Scottsdale, Arizona

Andrew Walter was a local kid, born in Scottsdale, Arizona, who committed to play for Arizona State.

When he got his chance to play midway through the 2002 season, he took it, and led the Sun Devils to an impressive run, including a win over the Oregon Ducks in Eugene, who had only lost one game at home in the last four years.

Walters' college passing numbers were impressive, and when he left, he was the teams all-time leader in total passing yards, single-season passing yards and total passing touchdowns. In his senior season in 2004, Andrew Walter surpassed John Elway to become the PAC 10 all-time leading touchdown passer. He unfortunately got injured late in the year, which forced him to miss the end of the season and the Sun Devils' bowl game.

The Sun Devils quarterback threw 85 touchdowns to just 36 interceptions with the team, and over 10,000 passing yards. Walter went on to spend four seasons in the NFL, largely as a third-string quarterback option.

3. Jeff van Raaphorst (1984-1986)

Hometown - Columbus, Ohio

Jeff van Raaphorst is best known for leading the Sun Devils to the PAC 10 Championship in his senior year in 1986. They had gotten off to a slow start, but gained momentum as the season went on, defeating both Oregon and USC on the road.

The team's performance led them to the 1987 Rose Bowl for the first time in the Sun Devils nine seasons as part of the PAC 10. The Sun Devils were slight underdogs going into the Rose Bowl game against Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines, but pulled off the win, and van Raaphorst was named the MVP of the game.

He was subsequently named to the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame for his performance in that game, joining teammate and Pro Football Hall of Famer Randall McDaniel, who had led the offensive line.

2. Danny White (1971-1973)

Hometown - Mesa, Arizona

Danny White was a great quarterback during his playing days, and a pretty good punter, but above all else, he was a top baseball prospect.

Frank Kush, who was the football team's head coach at the time, convinced the schools long term baseball coach Bobby Winkles to sign White to a scholarship that would also allow him to play punter for the football team.

Eventually, Danny White took over as the starting quarterback for the team, having worked on his talents while punting and playing baseball. White went on to have a 33-4 record as the starting QB for the Sun Devils, while continuing to punt. He won the Fiesta Bowl three times, and set no less than seven NCAA passing records, before being named an All-American in 1973.

White went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys for 13 years, winning a Super Bowl ring (before he took over as the team’s starting quarterback). White had initially been the team's punter but took over as the quarterback when Cowboys legend Roger Staubach retired in White’s fifth year. He threw for over 21,000 yards and 155 touchdowns in his pro career, but punted for even more yards, covering over 24,000 yards with his punts for America’s team.

White made it to one Pro Bowl in 1982, and is a member of both the Sun Devils and the Collegiate Hall of Fame.

1. Jake Plummer (1993-1996)

Hometown - Boise, Idaho

Jake Plummer is undoubtedly the best of the Arizona State quarterbacks. He took over early in his freshman year as the team's starting quarterback, throwing for 1,650 yards in nine games. Plummer steadily improved over the next two seasons, but it was his fourth and final year with the Sun Devils that really put him over the top.

Plummer and the Devils overcame a top-ranked Nebraska team that had been undefeated for 26 games early in the season, beating them 19-0. The game stole the headlines, and Arizona State were suddenly in the spotlight. Plummer broke the school's passing yard record in the game, throwing for 292 passing yards.

That game set the tone for the season, and Jake Plummer led the team to an undefeated regular season in 1996, alongside defensive star and close friend Pat Tillman. He threw for career highs in yards (2,575) and touchdowns (23).

ASU were just beaten in the Rose Bowl by Ohio State, finishing the season ranked fourth, and narrowly missing out on a National Championship game. Plummer finished third in the Heisman rankings and was named the Pac-10s Offensive Player of the Year.

He broke many records at ASU, most of which have now been surpassed. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, and the Arizona State Hall of Fame.

Plummer went on to play six seasons for the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL, after being drafted in the second round in 1997. He spent another four years with the Denver Broncos, throwing for almost 30,000 yards in his career, and 178 total touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2005.

Parameters for Rankings

These Arizona State quarterbacks have been ranked based on their career achievements as members of the Sun Devils program, not factoring in their careers beyond college football. Individual accolades, team records and playoff wins/titles while playing for the Sun Devils have all been taken into consideration when ranking the best Arizona State quarterbacks of all time.