TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- The true freshman has been a consistent stand out for the Sun Devil offense.
No, not him. The other one. Or the other, other one.
Like ASU's defense had last year, the offense is getting an injection of talented youth into the lineup.
Monday’s announcement that Jayden Daniels will be Arizona State’s starting quarterback has rightfully received plenty of attention, but the freshman feel for the team’s offense extends to his targets too.
One of the bigger standouts through the first half of ASU’s fall camp has been wide receiver Jordan Kerley. Almost every practice, the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder has made a few plays that stand out.
"It's been a little off at the beginning, but I've been getting better every single day,” Kerley said of his performance. "Every day, I'm stacking on top of each other. Building on that last day, getting better, watching film, what I did right and right that last day."
Like most newcomers, adjusting to the pace of major college football proved to be the biggest challenge for the Austin, Texas native.
"Definitely getting adjusted to the speed of the game,” Kerley said. “College football is way different than high school, way different than I imagined. But I'm picking it up."
Kerley’s become more comfortable within the playbook, saying that it was this third week of fall camp “when it really clicked.” It’s also helped his acclimation that he’s seen significant time with the starting offense.
"It's teaching me a lot and holding me accountable to their standards,” Kerley said of running with the starters. “It's bringing the best out of me playing with the ones."
Kerley began at the inside—or H, in ASU's terminology— receiver position, but when a minor injury kept starting Z receiver Frank Darby out of the lineup, Kerley moved up.
"I just jumped in at first, then rolled with it,” Kerley said. “I wasn't that comfortable with it at first, but as camp's gone on, I've gotten adjusted to it."
Whether he's playing H or Z, Kerley doesn’t care.
"As long as I'm on the field making plays, that's all that matters."
One interesting aspect of Kerley’s emergence in the receiver rotation is setting up a true freshman-to-true freshman combo in the passing game. Kerley says that while it wasn’t difficult dealing with a rotation at quarterback while that competition was going on, now that Daniels has won the job, their rapport can grow stronger.
"I'm excited to be working with him even more,” Kerley said of Daniels. “We're getting ready for game one and for the season."
Let's take that interesting aspect a step further. How about a passing game that features a true freshman-to-TWO true freshman?
Along with Kerley, tight end Nolan Matthews has also impressed during camp and is in line to contribute in 2019. Kerley and Matthews—from nearby Fisco, Texas—took their official visit to ASU together last summer, and announced their commitments to the Sun Devils on July 4, 2018.
Now, they’re poised to be catching passes from Daniels for the next several seasons.
"It's really cool,” Kerley said. “It's going to be really special. Working together, getting a lot of reps, and putting in all that work is going to be something special down the road."
With two weeks left until the Sun Devils’ season opener against Kent State, Kerley is focusing on the finer details of his position. He knows he has a great opportunity ahead, and he wants to take advantage of it.
"I've been waiting for this my entire life. I'm ready to go."