ASU Football: Newcomers Not Cleared

As the ASU football team inches closer to preseason camp, many are wondering (and worrying) about the status of some of the newcomers signed in the latest recruiting cycle.

For starters, one signee is definitely not enrolling.  Darrius Caldwell, a defensive end and outside linebacker hybrid, was one of the higher ranked JUCO transfers  in the nation.  He was not cleared academically and will not enroll at ASU.  Most likely, he will attend another junior college and then be available to sign again next February.  This is a significant loss for ASU.  Caldwell was not only very talented, but he played a position that is a big question mark for this upcoming season.

Next is defensive tackle, Dalvon Stuckey.  Stuckey is another highly rated JUCO transfer that was courted by teams in the SEC amongst others.  His signing with ASU on letter of intent day was a huge victory for coach Graham and his staff.  In the same manner as Caldwell, Stuckey is very talented.  He plays that strong side defensive tackle, presumably to replace Will Sutton and/or Davon Coleman.  As of right now, Stuckey still hasn’t been cleared to play by the university.  And apparently, he has quite a bit to do before they will clear him.  Him being in uniform by day one is a tenuous assumption right now.

One other player that has not been cleared to enroll in school is JUCO transfer running back De’Chavon Hayes.  This is the highly touted running back that coach Graham affectionately calls “Gump”.  Hayes was a tremendous running back in high school and junior college.  He was figured to factor into the offense immediately upon his arrival.  Although Hayes isn’t cleared, the rumors around the program suggest that he will be soon.  His status doesn’t appear to be as troubling as Stuckey’s.

Losing Caldwell hurts, but doesn’t necessarily cause a whole lot of damage to ASU’s defense.  But losing Stuckey could be crippling.  The defensive front coming back for ASU is unproven.  They’ll need all the help they can get.  Stuckey was the big “catch” to help retool that front line.  No doubt, coach Graham is frustrated that this prized recruit and his skills may never materialize.

As for Hayes, he would also be missed.  While ASU has a strong running back in DJ Foster, depth means everything in this business.  More than that, if Hayes is the real deal, it might allow offensive coordinator Mike Norvell to push Foster back out to the slot.

In any event, this is college football and these things happen.  Every team deals with it.  But ASU fans are hopeful that Caldwell is the only casualty of this process.