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San Diego State Football: Quinn Kaehler - Quarterback Preview

An inside look at Quinn Kaehler, SDSU’s undisputed and understated star quarterback. Kaehler is ready to take the reigns as the Aztecs focus on another successful campaign and a bid to play in a fifth consecutive bowl game.

Quinn Kaehler: San Diego State's Rising Star
Quinn Kaehler: San Diego State's Rising Star
Ethan Miller

The Facts

2013 Stats: Quinn Kaehler played in 12 games in his first year of Division 1 football, starting the final 11. He threw for 3,007 yards and 19 touchdowns against 9 interceptions. He became just the ninth Aztec ever to pass for over 3,000 yards in a season. He completed nearly 60% of his passes and had a quarterback efficiency rating of an impressive 136.1. He averaged 250 passing yards per game (29th in the country). He led the country with six game-winning drives. He threw a career high 337 yards in a mid-season OT game against Fresno State. Kaehler began last season as the 2nd string quarterback behind Adam  Dingwell. He did not play in the season opener against Eastern Ilinois. He debuted by coming off the bench in Columbus against Ohio State in front of over 100,000 fans. He went 22-for-36 (61.1 percent) for 216 yards and a touchdown in that game. He ws 8-3 as the starting quarterback last season.

2012 Stats: Kaehler threw for 4,044 yards and 38 touchdowns against 12 interceptions in his second season at Diablo Valley College in northern California. He was named the Mid-Eastern Conference MVP.

Quarterback Skills

In spite of his 6'4" and 215 pound frame, Kaehler is a quiet leader that has earned the respect and confidence from his teammates to believe he can win a lot of games, especially close games. Kaehler led San Diego State to three wins in four overtime games this season, including five games with fourth-quarter comebacks and three games when trailing by 14 points or more. His true strength lies in his ability to read defenses. The Aztec coaching staff speaks highly of his quarterback IQ and the decision making qualities that he possesses. Kaehler is great at reading defenses prior to the snap and determining exactly where he might throw the ball. He takes what the defense gives him and has good field vision to find the open target, not just his primary receiver. For offensive coordinator Bob Toledo's West Coast style of offense, he is the perfect guy, largely because he completes a very high percentage of passes and is not asked to chuck the ball downfield a lot, which could highlight his just average, but improving, arm strength. He is also considered to be a very accurate passer while on the move. That skill may come in handy as the Aztecs look to shore up it's offensive line.

The Story

Kaehler, a bright kid with a 3.9 GPA out of high school in San Ramon, California, tried out for SDSU's football in 2010. At that time, the Aztecs had a number of quarterbacks ahead of where he would have landed on the depth chart, so Kaehler eventually left SDSU and played at Diablo Valley College where he posted some lofty numbers. He ended up getting video in front of then new offensive coordinator Bob Toledo, who ended up contacting Kaehler. Toledo's offense requires an intelligent, efficient quarterback who can make reads and complete a high percentage of passes, in other words...Quinn Kaehler. Kaehler joined the team as a walk-on in 2013. He started at the bottom on the depth chart but ultimately climbed to second behind then starter Adam Dingwell.

Dingwell, battling a bad back, threw five interceptions in the Aztecs' season opening loss to Eastern Illinois and had a rough start in his second game at Ohio State. Enter Quinn Kaehler making his D1 debut in front of 104,984. "We put him in just to see how he'd do," coach Rocky Long said. "He exceeded our expectations from the start." Kaehler was impressive against Ohio State by completing 22-of-36 passes for 216 yards. His effort resulted in his becoming the starter going forward.

What to Expect in 2014

Kaehler's outstanding performance last year has given Aztec fans great confidence that he can lead the team to its fifth consecutive bowl game. In a conference filled with strong quarterbacks, Kaehler, while not flashy, continues to be one of the least talked about quarterbacks in the Mountain West, in spite of his numbers. This season, Kaehler's primary targets will include the sure-handed Eric Judge, potential deep threat Larry Clark, and the elite fifth-year senior, Ezell Ruffin.

This season, the Aztecs are predicted to finish a close second in the Mountain West Conference - West Division. With a successful full season behind him, there is a growing confidence that Kaehler, in his first full season as a starter, just may be the guy to lead the Aztecs to a conference championship in 2014.