TEMPE, Ariz.– There is hope once again in the desert, as another week ending at Arizona State’s famous “Camp T” signals the beginning of a new season, with big expectations and extra national buzz for the Sun Devils. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Arizona State University’
TEMPE, Ariz–College football has just found its next great interior defensive lineman. Move over Ndamokung Suh, move over Nick Fairley, because Will Sutton has arrived, and will be here to wreak havoc on offenses all around the country.
Sutton, a likely first round pick had he left last season after his redshirt junior year, comes into his redshirt senior year looking to break Arizona State’s illustrious single season sack record with 25 sacks. Sutton is tied with UCLA’s Anthony Barr as the single season leader in sacks among those returning in the FBS this season with 13.
The road for Sutton in his quest for the record as well as a successful season for the Sun Devils will be a tough one. After the opening game vs. Sacramento State, ASU faces four consecutive top-tier opponents in Wisconsin, Stanford, USC, and Notre Dame. Each of those teams feature huge front sevens with big offensive lineman to match up against him. Sutton is more than willing to take on the challenge.
“It’s going to be fun. The most important game on that stretch is probably (USC), a Pac-12 South opponent. It’s us, them, or UCLA for the South, I think,” he said. “We just got to take it one game at a time. We got (Sacramento State) right now, but we know what we’ve got ahead of us.”
The team will face a lot of national attention, with most of it falling on Sutton’s broad shoulders. Despite all of the hype surrounding him and his play, Sutton wants to keep his focus on the team.
“I just got to go out there and play my game. If I don’t make plays, I don’t make plays. As long as my teammates are out there making plays and getting W’s that’s all I care about,” Sutton said.
Sutton will also draw a lot of attention from opposing defenses inside. Despite being a part of a defense that also features stars Chris Young, Jaxon Hood, and Carl Bradford, Sutton will likely be double and even sometimes triple-teamed at the line of scrimmage. But Sutton doesn’t mind.
“No, not at all. I embrace it. Can’t wait. It’s just another challenge for me,” he said.
It is also Sutton’s second season under head coach Todd Graham, whose defensive prowess and attention to detail can be tough to get used to. It certainly worked as the season went on last year, as the defense improved, and the team cut down on penalties. This year, Sutton and the rest of the team seem more comfortable and ready to attack than ever.
“There’s definitely a new comfort zone, but we also have to keep guys from getting complacent, because sometimes guys like to ease up thinking, ‘Oh it’s the second year’ but our standard is higher from last year so we got to go out there and perform,” Sutton said.
Despite his chase for the record and the shot at being a top ten pick in the 2014 NFl Draft, Sutton has his focus on the goals of the team as opposed to personal achievements.
“I don’t have any personal goals. I just want to get wins, that’s it,” he said. “It;s a blessing to get (put on awards lists) and get all of that attention, but I don’t pay it any mind. It’s cool every once in a while to see yourself on ESPN , but it doesn’t affect me at all.”
Sutton was named a 2012 Consensus and AP All-American and an All-Pac-12 selection. He is currently on the 2013 award watch lists for the following awards: Outland Trophy, Bronco Nagurski Trophy, Maxwell Award, Chuck Bednarik Award, Walter Camp, and Lombardi Award. He and his trademark dreadlocks will be sure to frighten offenses and offensive coordinators all year as well as at the next level.
TEMPE, Ariz–While many college football athletes were gushing over young running back talents such as De’Anthony Thomas of Oregon and Giovani Bernard of North Carolina, Arizona State running back D.J. Foster was putting up big numbers in a hurry as a true freshman. Now entering his sophomore season, he’s hoping to put the whole world on notice.
As a rotational running back and slot receiver last season, Foster was dynamic, averaging 4.8 yards per carry and 14 yards per reception while also scoring six times and having over 1,000 all-purpose yards. With Cameron Marshall (ASU’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns) graduating after last season, Foster and senior Marion Grice will have to step up to take the majority of the carries in Mike Norvell’s spread offense, and are ready to take on the challenge.
“It’s good to know that my game is becoming more dependable and can be used to last long drives,” Foster said. “Me and Marion (Grice) just have to endure, and we’re definitely preparing ourselves for that.”
Both Grice and Foster are “home run hitters” as far as running backs go, as Foster scored once avery 22 times he touched the ball last season. Grice would have an astounding season himself, scoring once every 7.5 touches, and insane ratio.
“Our coaches really put us into position to be those explosive guys, to be those home run hitters. The way coach Norvell and our coaches set our offense up really puts us into position to make some big plays,” he said.
Foster’s versatility could be what makes Arizona State’s spread unique to others in the Pac-12 such as Arizona and Cal. Only Oregon, with De’Anthony Thomas, has an offensive weapon that can be used in as many ways as Foster. Foster saw time last season as a running back, slot receiver, split back, wide receiver, and returner.
“(My versatility) just helps to get the offense to where it can be. With the more recruits we have coming in Jaelen Strong, Marion (Grice), and Deontre (Lewis) as weapons on offense, the sky is the limit with our offense,” he said.
The Sun Devils are entering their second full season in the Todd Graham regime, as well as their second year with offensive coordinator and spread guru Mike Norvell. Returning starters Grice, Foster, and quarterback Taylor Kelly have been outspoken about their new comfort within the system.
“I definitely feel more comfortable,” Foster said. “Everything is starting to slow down for me, and leadership-wise I’m just trying to be more vocal. I know me and Marion definitely are trying to take on a bigger challenge in leading the offense and the team as well.”
Foster has prepared for the extra carries this offseason by bulking up in his offseason workouts, and trying to keep his incredible foot speed and agility.
“I’ve worked on every part of my game: my hands, my speed, and my weight. Hopefully it can help me out this season to be more durable and hopefully it all pays off. I’ve worked hard for it,” he said.
Luckily for Todd Graham and Sun Devil fans, they still have Foster for at least this season and next season, and will get a chance to watch this talented back hopefully develop into a budding star and big name in college football.
TEMPE, Ariz–Arizona State, for its offensive prowess, is easily one of the most talented defensive teams in the Pac-12 for this coming season. While almost all of the national attention goes to the big interior defensive line of redshirt senior Will Sutton and sophomore Jaxon Hood, almost no attention goes to Carl Bradford, who could be an unsung hero for this Sun Devils squad. (more…)
TEMPE, Ariz–Michael Eubank has had a bit of an odd journey at Arizona State University ever since being a highly recruited high school prospect, yet has been unfazed the entire way and looks to continue to take on any challenge in his path. (more…)