Oct 25, 2014 - 06:23 pm - The following is an ASU Athletics Media release
TEMPE -- The American Heart Association and The Paul "Bear" Bryant Awards’ Title Sponsor Marathon Oil Corporation today announced the watch list for the coveted Coach of the Year Award and Arizona State University head coach Todd Graham was among those named. The winner of the award will be revealed at the 29th annual event on Jan. 14, 2015 in Houston.
The coaches on the watch list for the 2014 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award include (alphabetical order):
• Art Briles, Baylor University
• Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
• Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
• Huge Freeze, University of Mississippi
• Todd Graham, Arizona State
• Mark Helfrich, University of Oregon
• Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia University
• Doc Holliday, Marshall University
• Brian Kelly, University of Notre Dame
• Gus Malzahn, Auburn University
• Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina University
• Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
• Gary Patterson, Texas Christian
• Bo Pelini, University of Nebraska
• Mark Richt, University of Georgia
• Rich Rodriguez, University of Arizona
• Nick Saban, University of Alabama
• Bill Snyder, Kansas State University
• Bob Stoops, University of Oklahoma
• Kyle Whittingham, University of Utah
Graham has led the Sun Devils to a 5-1 record to open the 2014 campaign and the Sun Devils are coming off back-to-back wins over AP-ranked opponents for the first time since the 1997 with the team’s most recent victories over USC and Stanford.
Arizona State is 18-5 in the last 23 games, the second-best record of all Pac-12 teams in the most recent 23-game span behind only Oregon (19-4). Of all the coaching hires made prior to the 2012 season, Graham has posted the fourth-best record at 23-10, half a game behind UCLA’s Jim Mora at 24-10 with only Urban Meyer (29-3) and Kevin Sumlin (25-9) ahead of them.
The Sun Devils have won six straight road games and Todd Graham is 9-5 on the road in his time at ASU. Graham has eight Pac-12 road victories under his belt already, tied for the second-most among all ASU coaches since 1980 behind only Bruce Snyder’s 18 from 1992-2000. In four seasons prior to Todd Graham, ASU was 5-13 in conference road games while Graham has led the squad to a 8-3 record in such games in his three seasons at the helm.
Legendary Alabama Football Coach, Paul "Bear" Bryant
In December, a finalists’ list comprised of five to 10 coaches will be announced. Finalists will attend an awards dinner on Jan. 14, 2015 at the Hilton Americas Houston, where the winner will be announced live. The Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award is the only college coaching honor voted on after all of the bowl games are concluded and is voted on by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Last year’s winner was Gus Malzahn of Auburn University.
January’s event will also recognize Jimmy Johnson, one of the most respected and accomplished football coaches in NCAA and NFL history, as the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Recipient. The award recognizes excellence in coaching on and off the field during a career, allowing recipients to take their place in history alongside legends such as Paul “Bear” Bryant. Among the past recipients of the award are R.C. Slocum (2014), LaVell Edwards (2013) and Hayden Fry (2012).
The Paul "Bear" Bryant Awards honor excellence in coaching while raising funds to fight heart disease and stroke, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. Bryant himself suffered a heart attack prior to his death in 1983. Funds raised benefit research, community education and outreach programs of the AHA. For more information, or to purchase tickets or a table for the event, contact Jimmy Comerota at 713-610-5026 or visit www.bryantawards.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @ahahouston and #bryantawards.
Oct 24, 2014 - 01:32 pm - In what has become a weekly occurrence, there were crucial games throughout the land last week that had a huge impact on the Sun Devils, particularly in the Pac 12 and a run at the championship.
Notre Dame lost a close game to Florida State, which doesn’t help ASU. However, UCLA and Utah won conference games against North opponents which strengthens the status of the Pac 12 South. SC also improved their record with a victory over Colorado.
As always, ASU's number #1 strategy is to win out in the South. This weekend has many more big match-ups. Let's have a look.
The Pac 12 Standings Entering Week 9
#6 Oregon @ California (Friday)
The Ducks have found their groove after a hiccup against Arizona and are looking to secure a spot in this year's four-team playoff for the National Champion.
Cal can score, especially at home, but the Ducks can do it better. The Devils skip the Quack Attack this year. We want Oregon to win big and continue to advance in the polls.
#25 UCLA @ Colorado
Usually we want a ranked conference team to beat an unranked team and help advance the Pac 12 nationally, but that is not the case here.
Yes, if UCLA stays relevant and wins, it makes ASU's big loss to the powder-blue look just a little less "big." However, the Bruins still hold a tiebreaker over the Devils, so we're pulling for the Buffs to deliver UCLA another loss in the South.
As a side note, ASU pounded the Buffaloes in Boulder. If they were to beat the Bruins, in a round about way ASU would still look like a better team than UCLA at this juncture with the Devils' loss to the Bruins looking like a Sun Devil fluke. Go Buffs!
Oregon State @ Stanford
This game doesn’t matter so much for ASU. Both of these teams are stuck on four wins, and it is unlikely that a victory would put either team back into the rankings.
We should pull for Stanford to get back on track which would bolster the Devils' win over the Cardinal last week.
#15 Arizona @ Washington State
This game will be close. Washington State can score points as well as anyone behind their record setting quarterback, Conner Halliday.
This sold-out game is being played in Pullman with temperatures in the 40’s. We all gain satisfaction when the cats lose, and this game is no exception. Go Cougars!
#20 USC @ #19 Utah
This is by far the most complex match-up in the conference.
On one hand we want USC to win and climb in the rankings because we have already beaten them. On the other hand we want Utah to win and come into Tempe as potentially a top-15 team next week.
With a close-fought battle right to the end it's also possible, slightly possible, that the loser remains in the top-25 nationally. A physically and mentally taxing game could bode well for ASU as Utah comes to Tempe next week.
In years past, when the Utes have lost this type of game at home, they have tended to sputter down the stretch. We want Utah to be at their best moving forward, with ASU pulling out the win next Saturday.
ASU and Utah victories this weekend will set up a national showdown in Sun Devil Stadium next Saturday on Homecoming weekend.
#14 Arizona State @ Washington
The fact that the Devils dominated Stanford after losing nine defensive starters from last year further proves the legitimacy of Coach Graham's program, but Saturday's game in Seattle is positioned as a “let down” for ASU.
The Devils anticipate a ranked Utah team at home next week before hosting Notre Dame, arguably the most hyped game on their schedule. These Huskies at home are not to be overlooked.
This is a "purple-out" game for Washington who can be dangerous in spurts. Regardless of the split time between QB's Taylor Kelly and Mike Bercovici, should the defense plays like it has the past six quarters this could be win #6 for Arizona State.
I am so excited to watch how things unfold the next few weeks as the stakes get higher. Don’t forget, we are still pulling for Notre Dame until they come to Tempe. ND blew their chance to enter Sun Devil Stadium as the #1 team, but if both the Devils and the Irish win their next two contests we could be preparing for a clash of two top-10 teams in the House of Heat on November 8.
Man, I love college football!
Oct 06, 2014 - 07:47 am -
CHECK OUT ROUND 2: Images & video pay tribute to the Jael Mary, Mike Bercovici, Jaelen Strong and ASU's last-second victory at SC Saturday night. (posted by fans, media & journalists)Follow DHD on Instagram - http://instagram.com/dieharddevil/,
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Mar 08, 2014 - 08:09 am -
ASU's 2014 Pro Day at Sun Devil Stadium went off without a hitch.
Nearly 20 former Sun Devils participated. Will Sutton, Carl Bradford and Marion Grice are projected to earn contracts with Grice a likely late-round pick. However, there are other Sun Devils vying for a late-round pick or becoming un-drafted free agents with a shot at playing into a deal.
Carl Bradford (Original photo credit to Doug Haller)
Sun Devil Participants
NFL Scouts in Attendance
9:30am Media, NFL scouts, draft-eligible players and ASU personnel gather in the weight room at Sun Devil Stadium.
9:44am Rumors start circulating that Marion Grice will not be participating in the workouts today.
9:57am Players gather in a circle and a few words are spoken. Now its time to go!
10:05am Each athlete starts with the vertical jump test.
10:16am Athletes move from the vertical jump to the broad jump, both tests are going on simultaneously.
10:33am The next and final test in the weight room is the bench press. Each player is tested on how many reps they can get with 225lbs.
10:52am Athletes scouts and media make their way from the weight room through Pat Tillman Tunnel and onto Frank Kush field. The sun is shining and conditions are perfect.
11:38am Will Sutton runs the 40yd dash.
11:43am Derek Hagan runs the 40yd dash.
11:54am Athletes split into groups based on position for the next set of drills.
Pro Day 40-Yard Dashes shot by Hod Rabino of Scout
The runners in order are: Carl Bradford, Davon Coleman, Chris Coyle, Alden Darby, Oshaon Irabor, Anthony Jones, Robert Nelson, Will Sutton, Chris Young, Carl Bradford (2nd run), Chris Coyle (2nd hard), Alden Darby (2nd try), Oshaon Irabor (2nd try), Stefon Martin, Robert Nelson (2nd try), Will Sutton (2nd try), Chris Young (2nd try), LeQuan Lewis, Mike Wilie, Justin Tryon, Derek Hagan, Ryan McFoy.
Will Sutton & Carl Bradford
Both Will Sutton and Carl Bradford decided not to participate in the weight room drills after already working out at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. They did however participate in the on the field drills. Both re-ran the 40yd dash, and both improved their time.
Sutton was clocked at the Combine at a 5.36, but in the low 5.2 range according to scouts at Pro Day. Bradford who ran a 4.76 at the Combine was able to shave his time and run a 4.64.
It's not uncommon for NFL prospects to perform best at their university's own Pro Day. The pressure since the Combine has cooled, and players get somewhat of a "home field" advantage by working out in a more familiar setting. Sutton and Bradford's performances at ASU's 2014 Pro Day should raise their stock as the draft gets closer.
Interestingly, Bradford was evaluated by some teams at fullback. He hasn't played the position since attending Norco High School before heading to ASU.
After a year removed from the NFL after a 6-year career, ASU's Derek Hagan is looking to make a comeback. At Pro Day, Hagan turned a few heads by clocking a 4.51 40yd dash.
Other Sun Devils who Turned Heads at ASU's 2014 Pro Day
Davon Coleman put up an impressive 35 reps on the bench-press. Coleman has a visit with the Dallas Cowboys on Apr. 16.
Gannon Conway and Evan Finkenberg had 34 and 26 reps respectively.
Alden Darby had a strong 36.5” vertical leap. Darby has upcoming visits with Chicago, Arizona and Baltimore. He will also be working out at ASU on March 17 for the New England Patriots.
Gannon Conway ran the 40yd dash in the mid 4.8s.
Derek Hagan ran the 40 in 4.51.
Ryan McFoy ran the 40 in 4.48.
Rober Nelson clocked a lightning 4.45.
Marion Grice – did not participate in major workouts.
The 2014 NFL Draft is held in New York City, May 8-10
Mar 02, 2014 - 05:55 pm -
Carl Bradford was a 2nd team All-PAC 12 selection in 2013, but his most productive year at ASU came in 2012. Bradford had 81 tackles, 11.5 sacks and averaged 1.58 tackles for loss each game. Bradford finished his career at ASU with 21.5 sacks.
At the Combine, Bradford’s measurables show that he has a stockier build, weighing in at 250 lbs. and with shorter arms than the NFL average. Bradford tested especially well in the Broad Jump placing 5th out of all LB’s at the Combine. His Vertical Jump was also above the league average. These two drills are usually used to gauge a player’s “explosiveness”. Bradford may have shorter arms, but he more than makes up for it with his lower body strength.
Carl Bradford's Size
Average NFL Size for the Linebacker position
Bradford has instinctive playmaking abilities. Using his explosiveness to get into the backfield quickly, he makes plays on the ball carrier. He’s an effective pass rusher, who can line up on his feet and rush the passer.
Carl Bradford's Combine Performances
Combine Averages for NFL Linebackers
Bradford is undersized and his shorter arms may give him trouble disengaging from blockers at the NFL level. He has a tendency to lower his head and go for the home-run-hit and sometimes ends up missing the ball carrier completely. Bradford had a sideline altercation this season with teammates that got physical and led to him getting benched for the 2nd half of the game against Oregon State.
Brandon Spikes (OLB, New England Patriots) - Both Bradford and Spikes are undersized LB’s who play fast, strong and with emotion.
Possible NFL Teams
Tampa Bay has just hired new coach, Lovie Smith, who is known for having a stout defense with a strong LB core. Bradford could be just the right talent to fit in and add to that young talented defense in Tampa.
The Pittsburgh Steelers run a 3-4 defense that utilizes their OLB to blitz often. Bradford could bring some speed to an aging pass rush, and he would fit in with that tough smash mouth brand of defense that has made the Steelers famous.
Another interesting fit for Bradford would be here in Arizona. The Cardinals also run a 3-4 and Bradford could fit into the pass-rushing scheme perfectly. With aging players on their defensive front, Bradford could definitely bring a skill set that they need.
Much like his ASU teammate, Will Sutton, Bradford is undersized, but his explosive potential and ferocious game film shows a much bigger defender. Alas, Bradford is a “tweener” who looks to fall in rounds 3-5.
In the end being drafted in the higher rounds is flashy and it gains a lot of attention, but being drafted at all is truly special. Most players don’t get that opportunity, so I hope these Sun Devils will. If they don’t however, all hope is not lost. All they need to do is look at what ASU's Vontaze Burfict did this past season with the Cincinnati Bengals.
After going undrafted Vontaze debuted in 2012, but it was this past season where he got the opportunity to truly show his stuff. He lead the entire NFL in tackles in 2013, was named to the 2nd team All-Pro roster and made the 2013 Pro-Bowl roster. Sutton and Bradford have one more chance to improve their draft stock this Friday, March 7, at the ASU Pro Day in Tempe.
Mar 01, 2014 - 03:30 pm -
Arizona State's Will Sutton participated in last weekend's NFL Combine. Let's take a look at Sutton's story coming into the draft along with his strengths and weaknesses. I'll provide my projections of his spot in the draft and the possible destinations where he'll start his pro career.
Sutton is coming off a disappointing 2013 season where his numbers took a dip, but he was still rewarded with PAC-12 defensive player of the year honors. In his previous two seasons, Sutton weighed 285 lbs. He gained weight for 2013, likely to overcome the undersized stereotype, bulking up to 300 lbs. Unfortunately, the weight gain slowed Sutton's initial burst and first step quickness that made him such a dominating force in 2011 and 2012 when he was named a first team All-American.
At the combine Sutton still looked heavy, and his workout wasn’t very impressive. Comparing his numbers to NFL averages over the past 5 years, his measurables show that he doesn’t have the prototypical NFL build, and unfortunately his workout stats aren’t going to wow NFL personnel. It should be noted that Sutton is still in the process of reducing his weight to recover more explosiveness.
Sutton's figures from the combine:
Will Sutton - Size
NFL Averages for Defensive Tackles over the past 5 years
Sutton's performances at the combine
NFL Combine Averages for Defensive Tackles over the past 5 years
Effective pass rusher in CFB. Has an arsenal of refined pass rushing moves including the spin. Game film shows a much more explosive player than the stats at the Combine.
At his current weight, Sutton fits in as more of a NT than a pass rushing DT. Coaches will want to see him playing at his more natural weight of 290 lbs. Questions about Sutton’s competitive drive have come into play. He has a bit of a reputation for taking plays off and “disappearing” at times during games. Work ethic will definitely be a question when NFL scouts and GM’s interview Sutton.
Possible NFL Teams:
Chicago desperately needs depth at DT with injuries plaguing the position last year and possible losses to free agency this year. By adding Sutton, the Bears could improve one of the worst defenses in team history.
Dallas is another team that had issues on the defensive side of the ball last year. Adding Sutton to pair up next to Demarcus Ware could give Dallas an added threat for opposing teams to game plan around.
Lastly, Sutton could really excel in Kansas City. With all of the other pass rushers around him, Sutton would likely be facing a single blocker most of the time, which would be to his advantage.
I believe Sutton will be taken in rounds 3-5.
Tomorrow, I will provide my analysis of Sun Devil Carl Bradford and his performance in the NFL Combine.
Feb 24, 2014 - 09:10 am -
Sun Devil Receiver #80 Derek Hagan (2002-2005)
On August 9, 2013, JC transfer wide receiver Jaelen Strong became academically eligible to play football in the upcoming season at ASU. Game #1 would kick off in less than 30 days and Strong, who had high marks from recruiting services, was expected to come in and immediately contribute.
Strong was admittedly not in the best shape since he had yet to work with ASU's Strength & Conditioning Coach, Shawn Griswold. Camp Tontozona would be Strong's first real taste of the speed and toughness that Head Coach Todd Graham demanded of his players. At the same time, he was challenged with learning the new playbook and his role in ASU's offense.
As it turned out, Strong was a quick study. Since his first few weeks in Tempe, he has established himself as a true Division I threat. Strong has everything and he knows how to use it: size, strength, athleticism, good large hands and above average speed for a 6' 4" athlete. With Strong, OC Mike Norvell has added a potent weapon in the passing game, something his offense desperately needed.
Jaelen Strong's first year production
Due to Strong's accomplishments in his short time at ASU, some fans have made comparisons between him and the great Derek Hagan who wore the Maroon & Gold from 2002-2005.
Derek Hagan played in every one of ASU’s 50 games in his four seasons. In that time, he eclipsed the numbers of legendary Sun Devil receiver, John Jefferson.
Hagan became ASU's all-time leader in receptions (258), receiving yards (3,939), 100-yard games (18), receiving touchdowns (27) along with average receiving yards per game. How's this for a feat -- he averaged over 100 yards per game throughout his junior and senior seasons. All of Hagan's records are still in tact.
Derek Hagan's career stats at ASU
For fun, let’s project the future stats of Jaelen Strong and compare his figures with those of Derek Hagan. We'll assume that Strong forgoes the NFL Draft in 2015 (a very real possibility) and plays all 3 years of eligibility in Tempe. In doing so, we’ll multiply Srong’s 2013 performance by three.
Jaelen Strong vs Derek Hagan. This is how the two players would compare under these circumstances...
Jaelen Strong over his sophomore, junior & senior seasons:
225 Receptions - 3,366 Yards - 15 Yard Avg - 21 TD’s
Derek Hagan over his sophomore, junior & senior seasons:
226 Receptions - 3,534 Yards - 16 Yard Avg - 27 TD’s
Now lets balance Hagan’s individual season performances with Strong’s impressive first season. Hagan twice caught more than 75 passes (Jaelen’s 2013 total), twice caught more than 1,122 yards (Jaelen’s 2013 total), twice averaged over 15 yards per catch (Jaelen’s 2013 average) and in three of his four seasons, Hagen caught more than 7 touchdown passes (Jaelen’s 2013 total).
Current Sun Devil Receiver #21 Jaelen Strong
Additionally, the Sun Devils played only 12 games during Derek Hagan’s sophomore, junior and senior seasons. ASU played 14 games in Strong’s first year.
Is it possible that Jaelan Strong will be more productive this year than he was in 2013? Absolutely. Do you think he's determined to blow out his first campaign as a Sun Devil this year? I could be wrong, but I think I can safely say on Mr. Strong's behalf, "Hell Yes."
In one season that included just 13 pre-season practices between the two, Jaelen Strong and Taylor Kelly developed great chemistry. Couple that with how fast Strong has transitioned from the JC level to Division I, and it's reasonable to assume that his ceiling is much higher.
The “challenge” for Strong individually this year is that ASU’s receiving corp is loaded with incoming 4-star talent. The Devils also have young receivers already on the roster like speedster Cameron Smith and the tough & physical Ellis Jefferson. A team-first player, Strong should firmly remain the leader of the group, but it’s possible that his receptions drop off some.
On the flip side, if you look at Derek Hagan’s record setting receptions and remember that he shared the load with the likes of Terry Richardson, Rudy Burgess and Zach Miller, perhaps Strong will catch even more passes in 2014. These are the type of quandaries that any die hard Sun Devil fan should enjoy mulling over.
Jaelen Strong is an exciting, elite college football receiver who should garner more national attention this fall. But ten years ago, ASU's Derek Hagan set the bar extremely high, even for someone with the talent of Jaelen Strong, to challenge his spot at the top.
Check back with DieHard Devil tomorrow for the official DieHard Interview with the best receiver to ever wear the Maroon & Gold...
Feb 06, 2014 - 07:42 pm - Damn it feels good to be a Devil.
Yesterday, ASU Head Coach Todd Graham and his staff received 25 faxes from targeted recruits. However they sent out 26 scholarship offers.
Kalen Ballage from Falcon High School in Falcon, Colorado, had that 26th letter.
NCAA recruiting stipulates that a university can send out only as many National Letters of Intent as they have openings in their class. It wasn't until 7:00am EST on Wednesday that each prospect could fax in a signed letter to their chosen university. Until then, their is no binding agreement because verbal commitments are not enforceable.
Ballage had multiple letters in hand and had scheduled his announcement for Wednesday afternoon at his high school. Coveted recruits who wait until signing day often schedule a public announcement so that teammates, friends, family and the media can attend.
Due to extreme snow drift, Ballage's High School had to close yesterday so he rescheduled for 3:30 pm today. This morning when he woke up, the weather persisted and he could barely leave his home.
Kalen Ballage is a 6'2" 215LB 4* Athlete. He runs runs 40 yards in under 4.4 seconds.
Kalen Ballage is a mature kid. He carries a 3.6 GPA. He's confident but humble and emphasizes the team aspect of football. It's not all about him. So faced with the situation today, Kalen decided to forgo any public announcement and inform the universities that were vying for his signature of his final decision.
UCLA felt confident that they were going to lock up Ballage's commitment after his official visit in Westwood over the weekend. The Bruins, despite a lack of sustained success over the years, have always pulled in top ranked classes. It is a respected academic university, and naturally recruits are wooed by the beautiful surroundings of West Los Angeles. Mix in the heightened media market and Hollywood panache of LA, and the Bruins frequently beat out competing schools for prospects.
At about 10:00 am MST this morning and after much deliberation, Kalen Ballage signed one letter of intent. Then he faxed it to the Carson Athletic Center at Arizona State.
The Sun Devil's class of 2014 is now complete. Official recruiting services rank ASU's group within the Top-20 nationally, and the news has reverberated throughout an energized Sun Devil Nation.
Damn it feels good to be a Devil.
Sun Devil Kalen Ballage - Falcon High School - Junior Year Highlights
HUDL: Sun Devil Kalen Ballage
Want to prove you’re a DieHard Sun Devil? Join the Sun Devil Club. -DieHard Devil
Feb 05, 2014 - 08:52 pm -
TEMPE, AZ - Today, the ASU Football Class of 2014 has been signed, and the Sun Devils have proven that they are a contender for the nation's top recruits.
ASU has signed 25 players from eleven states, and diehard fans should be excited about the level of talent throughout the 2014 class. It will be like nothing we've seen in Tempe in over a decade.
Many of ASU's targets weighed their options with teams like the Seminoles, Wolverines, Cornhuskers, Ducks, Longhorns, Aggies, Trojans, Bruins and the Irish. But today when each prospect sat down with their official letter and a pen, they chose to become a Sun Devil.
ASU has one outstanding letter that has yet to be signed, and it's as big as any in this class. 4-Star Kalen Ballage, the top running back recruit out of Colorado, was scheduled to announce his decision this afternoon at Falcon High School which he attends. However the school shut down due to extreme weather.
Ballage has been a "soft" commit for the Devils and his recruitment by other schools has been heavy right up to this very moment. Based on who you talk to, he will either sign with UCLA where he just had an official visit or ASU. Colorado, his hometown school, is the dark horse for his signature. Weather permitting, Ballage will announce at 3:30pm tomorrow at his high school.
Follow @DieHardDevilASU on Twitter to get updated status on the story.
Here is ASU's Class of 2014:
Dasmond Tautalatasi, 6'1", 186LB DB
Jamal Scott 6'2", 220LB Linebacker
Quinn Bailey, 6'5", 280LB Offensive Lineman
NLI signed by Jamal Scott
Click here to watch Coach Graham's Press Conference discussing each recruit in detail
Want to prove you’re a DieHard Sun Devil? It's simple. Join the Sun Devil Club. -DieHard Devil
Feb 03, 2014 - 06:45 pm -
ASU Football's success has largely hinged on it's defense these past two seasons. That old cliche, “Offense sells tickets. Defense wins games,” has merit. Just check in with the Super Bowl champion, Seattle Seahawks.
The defense clearly won the Seahawks this game in which they held the league’s top offense to an embarrassing 8 points. Seattle also scored 21 points off of four Denver turnovers yesterday, which included two pick-6’s in the first half.
Watching Seattle’s relentless pressure on Peyton Manning and the Bronco offense, I couldn’t help but be reminded of our Sun Devils' defensive style these past two years.
ASU’s revived football program has developed a reputation for dominating the turnover battle, a key factor in winning games. In fact in 2013, the Pac-12 South Champions finished at the top of the conference in turnover margin.
In 2012 and 2013, ASU defenses, led by Coach Graham and Coach Paul Randolph, forced a staggering 63 turnovers. How good was that? It was second most out of 120 teams. Of those 63 takeaways, they intercepted 42 passes, which was also good for second nationally.
OLB D.J. Calhoun to sign with the Sun Devils on Wednesday, Feb. 5
Last season alone, the Devils had 5 pick-6's, which tied for best in the country. Compare that to the last three years under Coach Dennis Erickson in which ASU had only 4 interceptions returned for touchdowns.
In 2013 when ASU’s ball-hawks came off the field following a turnover, the Sun Devil offense also did it's part. In all, the Devils outscored their opponents by 104 points (146-42) off of takeaways. Now get this - ASU's 146 points on turnovers accounted for 22% of their total points on the season.
To put that into even more perspective, the Sun Devils scored the 11th most points in the country (just shy of 40 per game).
Despite losses on defense to graduation and the NFL draft, Coach Graham will not veer from the philosophy that Defense Wins Sun Devil Football Games.
Fourteen of Graham's 25 verbal commitments to the 2014 class play on the defensive side of the ball. Of those, three are 4-Star high school recruits including linemen, Tashon Smallwood and Renell Wren, and linebacker, D.J. Calhoun.
Want to prove you’re a DieHard Sun Devil? It's simple. Join the Sun Devil Club. -DieHard Devil
Jan 24, 2014 - 03:53 pm -
ASU's 2014 recruiting class will become official in less than two weeks.
Over the past few months in particular, their has been a steady buzz about ASU's 2014 recruiting class. Todd Graham and his staff have secured a quiver of blue chip recruits at their respective positions, many of whom have offer lists that read like a who’s who in Division 1 Football. That's right, the Sun Devils are competing with and winning some contentious battles with the big boys. In fact at the current trajectory, Arizona State is becoming one of the big boys in it's own right.
In short, Todd Graham has harnessed his passion for the future of Sun Devil football and taken it to the living rooms of top prospects. The work ethic and approach of his staff has resonated with players and their families, many of whom have been courted by traditional powerhouses like Texas, USC, Michigan and Oregon.
4-Star Juco Wide Receiver, Eric Lauderdale, chose ASU today
Earlier today, ASU received another 4-star commitment from 6'2" 200 lb WR Eric Lauderdale, whose decision came down to ASU, Florida and Nebraska. Lauderdale is one of the top Juco receivers in the country, much like Jaelen Strong was last year. He was also offered by Arkansas, Miami, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin.
These figures below do not figure Lauderdale into the standings, and his commitment will further boost ASU's 2014 recruiting class rankings.
Rivals ranks ASU's 2014 Recruiting Class at #16 in the country and #1 in the Pac-12. ASUDevils.com, the Rivals affiliate for Arizona State, just released new rankings for six of the Sun Devils' commitments. Updated rankings are the result of a player's complete season performance along with their showings at different recruiting events.
Here are their updates:
Tashon Smallwood finishes as the No. 32 Defensive Tackle prospect nationally
Manny Wilkins finishes as the No. 20 pro-style QB
Tyler Whiley has become the No. 18 Athlete nationally
D.J. Calhoun is the No. 12 Outside Linebacker in final rankings
Connor Humphreys is the No. 8 strong-side Defensive End nationally
Kalen Ballage is the No. 6 Athlete nationally
D.J. Calhoun will wear Maroon & Gold
Like Rivals, ESPN has ASU's 2014 recruiting class ranked #16 and #1 in the Pac-12. They have classified eleven players as 4 stars. Six players are part of the the ESPN "300", the top 300 prospects nationally.
Finally, Scout ranks ASU's 2014 recruiting class #11 in the country. They list six 4-star players. Within each position group, Scout ranks:
Four ASU commits in the Top 50
Four in the Top 40
Three in the Top 30
Three in the Top 20 including Defensive Tackle, Tashon Smallwood (#20), Quarterback, Manny Wilkins (#14), and Outside Linebacker, D.J. Calhoun (#13).
DeAndre Scott - 5’8” 180 lbs Safety/ RB from Philadelphia, Scott is a childhood friend of ASU WR, Jaelen Strong.
Have you ever wondered about the fine print of the National Letter of Intent? The folks at AthleticScholarships.net provide a helpful explanation for prospective athletes and their families. They are an excellent resource for College Recruiting & Athletic Scholarships Advice.
AthleticScholarships.net provides the following explanation for the National Letter of Intent:
Explanation of the National Letter of Intent, NLI
This page explains each section of the National Letter of Intent in detail. The NLI is a legally binding contract and should not be signed until you have a full understanding of what it is. If you want to see an example of what the NLI looks like, you can see that here.
The document should be sent to you with the appropriate signing period checked. If the NLI has been sent to you before the signing period begins, you must wait until 7am of the first date of the signing period before signing it.
Provision 1 – Initial Enrollment in a Four Year University
This section simply states that you are enrolling in a four year university for the first time. For all athletes signing an NLI directly out of high school you will meet this requirement. The exceptions to this rule are made for 4-2-4 transfers and mid-year junior college transfers in football.
Provision 2 – Financial Aid Requirement
This section ensures that your NLI is accompanied by an athletic aid/athletic scholarship agreement. If you are planning on walking-on or will not be receiving a scholarship you will not need to sign an NLI. To learn more about the athletic aid agreements go here.
Provision 3 – Provisions of Letter Met
This section explains how you will meet the requirements of your NLI. In order to satisfy the terms of an NLI you will need to attend the university for one full year. For junior college athletes you need to attend the four university for one full year or have graduated from the two year college.
Provision 4 – Basic Penalty
If you sign an NLI and do not attend the school you may not go to another school and play for that school for one full year. You may receive a scholarship, but generally schools will not offer you a scholarship until you are eligible to play. In addition, you will lose one full year of eligibility in all sports. There are some cases where you can play right away with a release from the school you signed with; there is more on that process below.
Provision 5 – Early Signing Period Penalties
This section only applies to football players who are being recruited in other sports. If you want to receive a football scholarship, you are not allowed to sign an NLI for another sport during the early signing period for that sport. If you do, you will not be eligible to play your first year of football.
Provision 6 – Release Request and Appeal Process
If you have signed an NLI and would like to break that contract in order to sign with another university, it is known as asking for a 4-4 transfer. To learn more about the 4-4 transfer process go here.
Provision 7 – Declaring Your NLI Null and Void
This is a list of reasons your NLI could be not accepted by the University you have signed with. It is important to remember, 95% of the time this will not be an issue, but just encase it is important you understand how to avoid these issues.
You do not gain admissions into the university – If you do not get accepted by the university, you will not be receiving your scholarship. Remember, by meeting the NCAA eligibility requirements, you are not guaranteed admission into the school you choose.
You are a NCAA non-qualifier – You will be signing your NLI before you get your final eligibility status with the NCAA. If at the end of the year you are declared a non-qualifier, you will not be receiving your athletic scholarship.
One-Year Absence – If you sign an NLI and do not attend any school for one year you would then be allowed to attend another university if you file for a release with that schools conference office. Your athletic department at the school you will be attending can help you with that process.
Joining the Military or Church Mission – If you join the military or going on a church mission for 12 months or more after signing an NLI, you will be allowed to sign with another school without penalty.
Discontinued Sport – If the school cuts the program for the sport you signed for after you have signed, you will be allowed to sign with another school without penalty.
Recruiting Rules Violations – If it is determined there were recruiting rules violations after you have signed an NLI you will have the choice to continue with your NLI or get a release once you have been reinstated. This process will be handled by the athletic department of your university.
Provision 8 – Recruiting Ban After Signing
Once you sign your NLI all other coaches and universities are prohibited from continuing to recruit you. This means the recruiting process is finished for you.
Provision 9 – 14-day Signing Deadline
You have 14 days from the date you received the NLI to sign it. This does not apply however if you received the NLI with less than 14 days remaining in the signing period. You can check the dates at the top of the NLI document to see if you have the full 14 days remaining to sign.
Provision 10 – Statute of Limitations
This section says the entire contract is void after four years if you do nothing. Do not worry about the section; there are several appeals, releases or penalties that can be served in order to get passed the NLI before a four year period.
Provision 11 – Coaching Changes
You are signing your NLI and athletic aid agreement with the University, not the coach. If the coach leaves, you are still required to go to that school for at least one year. There are opportunities for releases but they are generally not granted. Make sure you want to attend that school and not just play for that coach.
Provision 12 – Coaching Contact Prohibited at Time of Signing
The coach of the university you are signing for is not allowed to be present at the time of signing of your NLI and athletic aid agreement. Additionally, they are not allowed to hand deliver the NLI. The only permissible way to receive your NLI is by fax, email or facsimile.
The Final Page of the NLI
The university you are signing with must have completed the top half of the final page of the NLI. If this information is not complete, you are not signing a valid NLI and you will need to go through the process again. As a recruit you are only responsible for signing the bottom half of the last page. For all recruits under the age of 21 you will need to have your parent or legal guardian sign the document as well.
The NLI is the final step in the recruiting process. These are only sent to recruits who have been recruited and evaluated by coaches for several months or years. If you are not getting recruited you need to take steps to be proactive.
Explanation provided by AthleticScholarships.net.
Jan 22, 2014 - 02:31 pm - ASU Football Video
Good day, Devils.
Here is the latest ASU Football Video, 2013 SUN DEVIL FOOTBALL TEAM HIGHLIGHT. It's hard not to get excited for next season's plays that will be featured in videos like this.
Be sure to share this with other Devils to enjoy. Recruits love this stuff as well and see it on social media.
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