It's not a done deal yet that Nick Kelly will be the next Arizona State football starting center.

Stephon McCray is in contention and so is Vi Teofilo, who started at guard last season but could move inside if Christian Westerman breaks into the starting unit.

But for now, in the second week of spring practice, Kelly is the first-team center and drawing some attention from his head coach — "He's a guy that really stuck out to me today," Todd Graham said Tuesday — and according to his position coach displays the attributes needed from the quarterback of the offensive line.

"Nick is a highly intelligent guy, (has) drive, he wants to be successful," offensive line coach Chris Thomsen said. "You don't have to beg him to come to work. He's not quite as big and long as Kody (Koebensky), but he's a little more athletic. He's fighting hard to keep that Number 1 position."

Koebensky was the starting center for 27 consecutive games in 2012 and '13 after backing up Garth Gerhart. He was inch taller than the 6-foot-2 Kelly, who spent one semester at American River College in Sacramento before transferring to ASU with three years of eligibility.

"I didn't know how to sell myself myself" out of Casa Roble High in Orangevale, Calif., Kelly said. "I didn't have a lot of money to go camps. I had a hard time getting my name out there."

Division II Humboldt State in Arcata, Calif., offered a scholarship, but Kelly had confidence that a season of junior college would put him on the D-I path. Jon Osterhout, head coach at American River, also is president of Linemen Win Games, a training program that helped Kelly develop.

Kelly chose ASU over offers from Nevada and Wyoming — "It was an easy decision," he said — and did a one-season tutelage behind Koebensky.

"Kody was really a technician," said Kelly, now a junior. "That's what I learned from him and how to be a leader as well. I feel like I'm doing the job in stepping up. I'm giving them what they want, showing them I know my stuff and I'm dependable."

Thomsen said Kelly, a 3.5 grade-point student, is "not just a smart guy, he's a quick thinker. You can't be real methodical and slow. He thinks on his feet. There's no question in my mind, he can get it all on the same page and he's done a good job so far."

Marcus Washington, a senior running back converted to tight end, now is getting a look at linebacker. "He is too good an athlete to not play," Graham said. "He showed some things that look good."

Washington, 6-0, 223, of Phoenix, made some tackles on special teams in 2012. He had 41 yards rushing in 2011.

"I had a lot of fun," Washington said. "It was a lot of learning. My teammates are teaching me as I go in and maybe make a mistake. It's great the coaches are doing everything they can to help me get on the field. I'm working with special teams too to make sure I get out there and do what I can."

"Inside run, it was weird going against one of the running backs, knowing I have to go wrap him up. I was in that position (rushing) last week. As a linebacker, you need to go blow them up. It is a whole lot different."