Refueling High Octane: How ASU Football Is Addressing Its Needs In Recruiting

Head Coach Todd Graham is reloading his team in a big way this offseason. With only a few hours left in the madness that has become recruiting, the Arizona State Sun Devils are in the middle of several battles for prized recruits.

However, regardless of what happens on Wednesday, Head Coach Todd Graham has done an excellent job of reloading a team that showed a great deal of promise in its first year under his tutelage.

The Devils had several needs going into the offseason and, with the recruiting frenzy on the precipice, here is a recap of ASU’s needs and what ASU’s coaching staff has done to satisfy them:

1. Offensive Line: A unit that was inconsistent in 2012, the big boys up front needed some new blood with the departures of Andrew Sampson and Brice Schwab. While there is still plenty of talent in place, CTG did well to supply OL coach Bob Connelly with prospects Jack Powers and Nick Kelly. Powers is a project, coming to Tempe at 245 lbs, but shows promise at the tackle position. Kelly is a JUCO transfer who should back up Kody Koebensky as center, allowing Mo Latu to shift to guard. Another JUCO OL Josh Tremblay backed out of his commitment in favor of Fresno State, but the Devils are still in the mix for George Adeosun, a tackle shooting up several schools’ boards. For a team that relies heavily on the play of its line, the Devils must be more reliable up front to have success in 2013.

2. Wide Receiver – Another position of inconsistency for the Maroon and Gold last season, the Devils were hurt by several departures in the offseason, leaving them with just six scholarship wideouts. Enter an influx of talent on the outside in the form of Jaelen Strong, Joseph Morris, Ronald Lewis, Ellis Jefferson, Trevell Dixon, Cameron Smith and Grant Martinez; all have the potential to contribute right away. With Darren Carrington committing to Oregon, the corps looks complete; though target Marcus Ball could play both ways. The group will certainly be young with Kevin Ozier and Alonzo Agwuenu being the only proven upperclassmen, but the position certainly looks bright for the future.

3. Defensive Backs – One of the best secondaries in the country in 2012, the group will be hurt by the graduations of Keelan Johnson, Deveron Carr and Kevin Ayers, as well as the departures of several depth players. Commits Damarious Randall, Jayme Otomewo and James Johnson should challenge for playing time right away. Safety Michael Parker is expected to commit and the Devils are still in the mix for uber-talented corner LJ Moore. With the players they have returning, the promising new athletes and the leadership of coaches Joe Lorig and Chris Ball, this unit looks to continue being a force this fall.

4. Defensive Line – A force in the trenches last season, this position was bolstered by the return of Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Will Sutton. Coupled with consistent playmakers Davon Coleman, Junior Onyeali and Jaxon Hood, the defensive line is expected to continue terrorizing quarterbacks and running backs alike this fall. However, depth was a concern, particularly at Sutton’s position, to keep players fresh and the unit’s performance at a high level. One of the best JUCO defensive lineman in the country, Marcus Hardison, was added to do just that; a versatile, hard-working playmaker who is just what the group needs to push it to the next level. Add Garrett Marino, Demetrius Cherry and Kisima Jagne to the mix and this unit looks strong for years to come.

Follow Ryan Knowles on Twitter: @RyKno52

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