Four touchdown tosses and 224 passing yards. Gaudy stats for most
quarterbacks, but not for Arizona State Heisman hopeful Andrew
Walter. "Pretty decent," the junior said of his effort in the Sun
Devils' 34-14 win over Northern Arizona last Saturday night.
"Solid, O.K., fine," said his coach, Dirk Koetter.
My, how expectations have changed. At this time last year, the
6'5", 221-pound Walter was a backup stewing on the sideline,
waiting for an opportunity to show his coach how his mechanics
had improved over the summer. In the second quarter of a Sept. 14
game at San Diego State last season, with the Sun Devils down
22-0, Walter got his chance. He led Arizona State to a 39-28
victory by completing 11 of 20 for 241 yards and four TDs. By
season's end Walter had thrown for a school-record 3,877 yards
and become the first Pac-10 quarterback to throw for 400 or more
yards in four games.
How would he like to follow up that performance this year? "With
more wins," says Walter, pointing to the Sun Devils' 8-6 finish
last season. "I couldn't care less about stats and yards."
Though his midrange passes leave vapor trails, Walter throws the
50-yard bomb with such ease and accuracy that he looks as if he's
lobbing car keys over a fence to a friend. He doesn't know how
far he can throw the ball because he has never tried to find out.
"When I reach back and throw it as far as I can, I feel like I
haven't thrown it as far as I can," he says.
It's a scary thought: Even after an eye-popping season, Walter
has yet to fully tap his potential. --Kelli Anderson
Tim Layden's Insider plus a photo gallery, every week at