The 2022 Arizona State Sun Devil football team will look a lot different than it did a year ago with 43 new players on the roster.
While some position battles were settled in preseason fall camp, others will require game representatives for the coaching staff to decide who will jump at the chance.
And then, of course, there’s the inevitable injury bug that no football team can escape and that has sadly already stung ASU.
With that said, here are all of ASU Football’s position groups ranked from first to worst:
1. defensive line
The injured list is undoubtedly the deepest and strongest part of Arizona State football in 2022. And that’s after DE’s season-ending knee injury (torn ACL). fifth year and honorary captain Michael Matus.
Joe Moore and Travez Moore will be the Sun Devils’ primary pass-rushers at defensive end. Sophomore BJ Green, who led the team with 5.0 sacks as a freshman last season, and Anthonie Cooper, who played the most snaps as a pass-rusher last season (262), will also be very reliable.
Inside, Miami transfer Nesta Jade Silvera, Omarr Norman-Lott and Tautala Pesefea Jr., who played the third-most snaps at DT last year, will remain in control at defensive tackle. DT Robby Harrison and DE Blazen Lono-Wong are a pair of true freshmen to watch out for this season. New defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson has said the IL will have to be the “catalyst” if ASU’s defense is to repeat as best in the Pac-12 and 13th-best in the country in yards allowed per game from a year ago.
Like last season, the Sun Devils’ offense will start with a double whammy in the running game. Wyoming transfer Xazavian Valladay will be the main ball carrier, while Daniyel Ngata, who thrived in his role as a third member last year, will complement him. Both running backs also have the ability to catch the ball from the backfield, adding another dimension to ASU’s offense under new offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas.
This is perhaps ASU’s thinnest position from a depth standpoint following the departure of Eric Gentry, who transferred to USC. However, the Sun Devils’ linebacker group is very heavy with two fifth-year senior captains in Kyle Soelle and Merlin Robertson, who have an immense amount of experience. The lack of depth, plus the athleticism required to cover mostly extended college football offenses, will be why Arizona State has a ton of nickel this season.
4. Tight end
Missouri transfer Messiah Swinson and redshirt sophomore Jalin Conyers will add another wrinkle in the passing game for Thomas and company. Tight ends project as great red zone targets for a team with doubts at receiver. Both Swinson and Conyers, of course, will be heavily used as blockers in the running game, which could open things up in the action game.
With Florida transfer Emory Jones earning the starting job despite being the only one of the team’s six quarterbacks not on spring ball, that might say more about the lack of depth in the room. ASU quarterbacks. Jones is by far the most athletic of the six, which will help take the pressure off opposing teams. He also has the best arm and is the only one with starting experience who came in the SEC. Backup quarterbacks Trenton Bourguet and Paul Tyson have combined for a combined 28 pass attempts in their college careers at ASU and Alabama, respectively.
6. Offensive line
Arizona State lost its starting center (Dohnovan West) and left tackle (Kellen Diesch) to the pros in the offseason. But luckily for Sun Devil fans, the guy who played between them, senior left guard LaDarius Henderson, is still on the team. He only allowed one sack and 10 QB pressures in pass protection last year, and a strong 2022 could put him on the NFL’s radar. ASU is extremely solid at both shooting guards, with San Diego State transfer Chris Martinez playing opposite Henderson.
Tackle and center may be where the question marks are, as last year’s right tackle Ben Scott is now at center, while true sophomore Isaia Glass (left tackle) and transfer Penn State Des Holmes (right tackle) will be on the outside. Northern State transfer Emmit Bohle at tackle and Swiss Army Knife, Iowa State transfer Joey Ramos at guard and tackle are two names to watch.
7. Defensive back
One could argue that the DB room should be a bit higher on this list. But given the offseason departures and now the injuries to would-be starters Jordan Clark and Timarcus Davis for Week 1, it’s more a question of who will move up from the 21 DB on the roster. Ed Woods and 6-foot-3 Auburn transfer Ro Torrence will get their first starts in a Sun Devil uniform at cornerback against NAU, while DJ Taylor will get plenty of nickel time this year.
Samford transfer Chris Edmonds and Hawaii transfer Khoury Bethley will be the two safeties, with the latter having the most tackles of any returning player in the nation and the second-most defensive snaps of any player. who returns to the country. Macen Williams and Kejuan Markham come up with names to watch on the depth chart.
8. Wide Receiver
Perhaps the biggest question mark for ASU in 2022 is who will be the team’s leading WR. After the mass exodus on the transfer portal, grad student Bryan Thompson (13) and redshirt junior Andre Johnson (12) had the most receptions of any return pass catcher from last season.
Redshirt sophomore and 2020 four-star recruit Elijhah Badger, who had only seven receptions a year ago, will see his role greatly increased. Senior Gio Sanders, Vanderbilt transfer Cam Johnson, Virginia Union transfer Charles Hall IV and Chad Johnson Jr., the son of former NFL outfielder Chad Johnson, will also get their chances.
9. Kicker / kicker
“If you have two of something, you have none” is the old saying in football. For now, Arizona State assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said the team will “ride the hot hand” between kickers Jace Feely, the son of former Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely, and the real freshman Carter Brown.
Real sophomore Eddie Czaplicki will continue to serve as he did last season. Czaplicki will also serve as the team’s starter and kicker.