The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Arizona State Sun Devils.
No. 62: Arizona State Sun Devils
Spring Practice Starts: March 13
Spring Game: April 13
Arizona State Sun Devils Spring Status
This won’t be boring.
The Sun Devils have a solid season and a great finish to the regular season, winning three of the last four games including a win over Arizona to go bowling. The firing of Todd Graham and the blowout loss to NC State in the Sun Bowl soured things, and now it’s rebuild time.
Herm Edwards will be a blast in press conferences and should bring the energy, but will his team be able to rise up in an improved Pac-12 South?
Manny Wilkins is seemingly set at quarterback, and the receiving corps is loaded with upside and talent, but will the ground game be okay without RB Kalen Ballage? Behind a line that gets back four starters, yeah.
The other side of the ball needs a lot more work, losing the whole starting linebacking corps, the two starting defensive tackles, and enough parts in the secondary to hurt.
But Edwards doesn’t seem to have any problems with the challenge – he’s playing to win the game.
Arizona State Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Linebacker. Leading tackler Christian Sam left early for the NFL, and D.J. Calhoun is a loss in the middle. Throw in the departure of J’Marcus Rhodes, and the top three tacklers are gone, along with Alani Latu.
Khaylan Thomas got his feet wet, and now he’ll need to rise up in the middle, and Tyler Whiley and hybrid/safety Deion Guignard will get the first look at replacing Rhodes.
Arizona State Biggest Issue
The secondary has to be better – finally. Leave it to the former NFL defensive back to try to figure it all out, and it’ll be Edwards’ biggest problem right away. The Sun Devils got loaded last season a few too many times, giving up 3,574 yards and 20 touchdowns on the season.
Granted, they dealt with a whole slew of amazing quarterbacks, but after allowing QBs to complete over 75% of their passes over the final three games, it’ll take some work.
Arizona State Biggest Positive
Receivers. The Sun Devils are loaded with targets for Wilkins to work with, starting with matchup nightmare N’Keal Harry. Kyle Williams is back, too, as the No. 2 man, as part of a loaded group with the top six targets back. Expect a whole lot more than the 256 yards per game through the air ASU came up with last season.
Really, Why Are The Arizona State Sun Devils Ranked Here?
There’s a lot to like. The defense needs to be a whole lot better, but there’s no Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen to face in the division this year, and there’s no dealing with Texas Tech’s passing game, either.
The offense will come around and be just fine running the ball, and the passing attack should be terrific. As long as the defensive front seven holds up, and if the coaching is just okay, ASU should be a player.