A week ago, Todd Graham & Staff finalized their 2013 Class. Now with 27 new faces on the roster, DieHardDevil.com takes a look at how the position battles will take shape this Spring. Let’s cover the Sun Devil Offense first.
Quarterback – Redshirt Junior Taylor Kelly will head into the spring as the incumbent starter with Redshirt Sophomores Michael Eubank and Mike Bercovici looking to tap into their much-heralded pedigrees to fight for the starting job. With no QB’s signing in either the 2012 or 2013 recruiting cycles, the likelihood of either/both Eubank or Bercovici transferring has exponentially decreased. This will, however, be something to watch closely as the spring depth chart sorts itself out.
Running Back – Marion Grice should get the bulk of carries at the RB spot. DJ Foster will get his share of carries again, but it’s possible that this coaching staff likes him much more as a pass-catching receiver in 2013 versus the pounding taken by running between the tackles. DJ’s tough as nails so he’ll be happy wherever he can contribute to Wins. The depth chart at this point gets a little muddled with guys like Deantre Lewis, Marcus Washington, Kyle Middlebrooks, and 2012 recruit Terrell Davis. We have the depth. Can we give any of these guys an edge? Not yet. No true RB was taken in this class, but incoming freshman Marcus Ball and Ronald Lewis have the intangibles to slide over to the position as well.
Wide Receiver – It’s no secret that WR was the weakest position for in 2012. Then to add insult to injury, the Devils lost Rashad Ross and Jamaal Miles to graduation and two reserve receivers have asked for their release from their scholarships in order to transfer. The good news: the coaching staff made it a priority to re-stock the roster at the position with guys they felt could come in and contribute right away, and they did a nice job. JC transfer Jaelen Strong is a true game-breaker and will provide the downfield threat that the team has lacked for a number of seasons. Senior Kevin Ozier was very dependable throughout 2012, but he lacks the speed to break free more often to increase his receptions and pick up yardage after the catch. Senior, Alonzo Agwuenu showed flashes toward the end of the season. True Sophomore-to-be Rick Smith did some things well from the slot position, but his size and propensity to drop deep passes limited him from getting more looks. Before this class, Coach Graham didn’t have nearly enough players to consider as top targets going into 2013. Enter incoming freshmen Ellis Jefferson and Cameron Smith who could play their way off of the redshirt list. JC transfers Joe Morris and Jaelen Strong will likely change the dynamics of the offense and contribute immediately. NOTE: Every receiver in this class is 6-foot to 6’4″ with speed to burn, giving ASU the size & quickness they’ve lacked at the position.
Tight End/ Half-Back – Chris Coyle saw the most time at the position in 2012 and came away with the ASU all-time single-season record for catches by a TE with 57. After Coyle, JC transfer De’Marieya Nelson is expected to make an immediate impact at the position and allow ASU to employ double TE/HB formations creating mismatches with LB’s all over the field. Nelson is a freakish athlete for his size and will provide a good headache for Defensive Coordinators. Seniors Darwin Rogers and Max Smith saw limited action in 2012, but provide solid depth at this spot on the team. Sophomore Kody Kohl is still learning the position and incoming local HS product Grant Martinez is a likely redshirt candidate.
Offensive Line – The group was bolstered with the addition of former 5* Chandler Hamiltion LT Christian Westerman transferring back home from Auburn. Although he will have to sit out in 2013, he adds depth to a very difficult position to fill after this season. Evan Finkenberg returns to his starting Left Tackle spot, but he’ll be challenged by RS freshman Evan Goodman. Left Guard Jamil Douglass could also be a factor in the LT battle with enough size, length and athletic ability to move outside. The interior line positions have many moving parts, and we could see some guys who have been regular starters potentially passed on the depth chart. JC transfer Center Nick Kelly (3 years of eligibility) and sophomore Mo Latu are primed to challenge returning starter Kody Koebensky. Latu is also a “Road-grater” who could be tabbed at one of the guard positions as well. Depending on the work put in this off-season in the weight room, three players should also figure into a deep OL group: Sil Ajawara, Tyler Sulka and Vi Teofilo. The depth & experience of the Offensive Line has been a glaring concern in recent years. lacked depth and experience in recent years. But now, the Line looks to be a source of talent and experience for the foreseeable future. Lastly, incoming freshman Jack Powers, who played Defensive End in high school, looks like a promising prospect at LT, but will most likely be a redshirt candidate for 2013.
With the returning Devils on the other side of the ball coupled with the newest talent secured by the staff, ASU’s Defense should be one of the most dynamic units in the BCS entering 2013. Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the battles to watch at each position group on the Sun Devil D.
Have any thoughts on these projections? Talk about it in the Devilink Forums
Comments are closed.