July 23, 2012
TEMPE -- The annual Pac-12 Football Media Day will take places this year in Universal City, Calif., and will take place at Universal Studios at the Gibson Amphitheatre on Tuesday, July 24, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. PST.
Starting at 9 a.m. PST, a free live video stream of Tuesday’s Pac-12 football media day will be available on Pac-12.org and on the Pac-12's YouTube channel. Video of each press conference, featuring two leading returning student-athletes and the coach from each Pac-12 team, will be posted on Pac-12.org for on-demand viewing. Fans will also be able read the transcript of each press conference on Pac-12.org.
Below are Arizona State's preseason notes as the team heads into the homestretch as far as the commencement of fall camp, set to begin Friday, August 3. A complete set of notes, including last year's statistics and brief bios for players and coaches, along with other superlatives, is available at the link above.
ASU PRESEASON NOTES
Todd Graham NAMED HEAD COACH
Arizona State University named Pittsburgh head coach Todd Graham, who led Rice to its first bowl victory in 45 seasons in 2006 and then led Tulsa to back-to-back 10-plus win seasons for the first time in school, as its 23rd football coach on December 14, 2011.
Todd Graham was part of two of the NCAA’s top single-season turnarounds in recent history. In 2002 Tulsa was 1-11, but under Graham’s defensive leadership the team went 8-4 in 2003. At West Virginia, the Mountaineers were 3-8, but then jumped to 9-4 in his second season.
His teams have been scoreboard changers, as Tulsa twice led the nation in total offense (2007 at 543.9 yards per game and 2008 at 569.9 yards per game) and ranked fifth in 2010. His 2010 Tulsa team comprised of mainly his first recruiting class notched 505.6 yards per contest, but on the other side of the line of scrimmage the Golden Hurricane led the nation in interceptions (24) and was third in turnovers gained (36).
MARSHALL, MARSHALL, MARSHALL
Senior running back Cameron Marshall finished 2011 with 1,050 rushing yards, the first Sun Devil to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark since Ryan Torain ran for 1,229 yards in 2006. Marshall becomes the 16th Sun Devil to run for more than 1,000 yards in a season and it marks the 20th time in Sun Devil football history that ASU has had a 1,000 yard rusher.
Woody Green did it three times and Freddie Williams did it twice. Marshall ran for more than 100 yards four times in 2011 and has done it six times in his career. The six career 100-yard games are tied for 17th most in school history.
He has run for 2,131 yards over his three seasons in Tempe, the 17th player in school history to go over the 2,000-yard mark in his career. He has run for the 12th-most yards ever by a Sun Devil runner and is 343 yards away from joining the Top 10.
MARSHALL OF THE TOUCHDOWN
Cameron Marshall ran for 18 touchdowns in 2011, tying him with Woody Green (1972) and Terry Battle (1996) for the most ever in a single season by a Sun Devil running back. Marshall led the Pac-12 with his 18 touchdowns on the ground and he scored more rushing touchdowns than eight Pac-12 teams (Arizona 17, Utah 15, Washington 15, Washington State 13, Oregon State 12, USC 12 and Colorado 10). Marshall’s previous career high for touchdowns was nine, set last season. Marshall had six games with multiple rushing touchdowns during the 2011 season, including three against USC and Colorado.
Marshall has rushed for 29 touchdowns in his three seasons with Arizona State. He is one of only 11 Sun Devils all time to score at least 20 touchdowns on the ground. The 29 puts him in fourth place all-time in ASU history.
As a result of his junior performance, Marshall has earned preseason recognition on Phil Steele’s annual Preseason All-Pac-12 Team, taking second team honors as a running back and is on the watch list for the 76th Maxwell Award, given annually to America’s outstanding football player by the National College Football Awards Association. Marshall has also been placed on the 2012 Doak Walker Award watch list, given annually to the nation’s top running back by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum.
AMONG THE NCAA’S BEST
With his 18 rushing touchdowns in 2011, Marshall returns in 2012 as the nation’s fourth-leading returning rushing scorer among NCAA Division I-A student-athletes. Only Wisconsin’s Heisman Trophy finalist Monte Ball (33), KSU quarterback Collin Klein (27) and Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle (24) return having found pay dirt on the ground more than Marshall last season.
In addition, Marshall’s 29 career rushing touchdowns rank him fifth among active Division I-A student-athletes returning in 2012 that played in 2011. In that category only Ball (55), Klein (33), SMU running back Zach Line (34) and Michigan QB Denard Robinson (35) have more.
100 YARDS ON THE GROUND
Arizona State is 4-2 when Cameron Marshall runs for at least 100 yards. He did it two years ago against Portland State and UCLA and last season against USC, Colorado, UCLA and California. ASU is now 255-54-5 all-time when it has a 100-yard rusher.
SUN DEVILS TO HAVE NEW SIGNAL CALLER IN 2012
With the departure of record-setting quarterback Brock Osweiler to the NFL, the spring featured a three-man competition for the right to start at quarterback that featured a trio of youngsters, each bringing a unique skill set to the offense.
Redshirt sophomore Taylor Kelly, sophomore Mike Bercovici and redshirt freshman Michael Eubank generally received equal repetitions during spring practice as each worked to earn the first-string nod. ASU collectively has a group capable to be highly effective in the short, intermediate and deep passing game while also bringing excellent mobility, field awareness and downfield running abilities.
“I’m really impressed with all three guys at quarterback,” Graham said following ASU’s annual spring game. “I think there’s obviously some great promise that I’ve seen. I went into the spring thinking this is a group I can have some confidence in, and I come out of the spring knowing I have confidence in them. We don’t need any newcomer quarterbacks. We want guys that are seasoned veterans as far as their decision making, and that’s a position that we’ve got good talent to work with.”
MORE ON QUARTERBACKS
For the fourth time in as many years, the Sun Devil season opener will feature a unqiue quarterback under center. Whoever takes the first snap August 30 against NAU will follow Danny Sullivan (2009), Steven Threet (2010) and Brock Osweiler (2011) as the fourth different quarterback to start on opening day since Rudy Carpenter started three straight from 2006-08. Sullivan and Threet were making their first career starts period, while Osweiler had made a start later in the season in 2009 and 2010. Whoever starts on opening day will be the third quarterback in four years to be making their first career start on opening day. Since 1997, ASU quarterbacks making their first career start are 8-5.
RUNNING FOR MILES
Jamal Miles returned his third career kickoff for a touchdown and second last season against Washington State, bringing it back 95-yards for the score. The two kickoff return touchdowns last year tied Miles with Terry Battle (1996) for most kickoff return touchdowns by a Sun Devil in a single season. The kickoff return TD against Washington State made Miles ASU’s all-time leader in that category, moving him past Omar Bolden, Terry Battle and Whizzer White who all had two in their careers. The 78-yard punt return by Jamal Miles against Oregon State in 2011 was the first punt returned for a touchdown by a Sun Devil since 2005. On November 25, 2005, Terry Richardson returned an Arizona punt 71-yards for the score. It took 68 games before Miles did the same thing against the Beavers.
Over his three seasons in Tempe, Jamal Miles has returned 64 kickoffs for 1,517 yards and three touchdowns. The 1,517 yards ties Rudy Burgess for the most career kickoff return yards in school history. Miles totaled 788 of those yards last season, the second highest single-season total in ASU history. Miles’ total is second only to the 879 yards that Burgess gained in 2007. Miles has 64 career kick returns, giving him an average of 23.7 yards per return. Burgess had 68 returns, with an average of 22.3 yards per return. Miles has three kick return TDs, while Burgess had one.
MORE ON MILES
Miles’ prowess on the special teams end of the field has earned him several preseason honors, having been named to the College Football Performance Awards Watch List as a kick returner, punt returner and all-purpose player. He was also named to Phil Steele’s Preseason All-Pac-12 second team as a kick returner and the fourth team as a wide receiver. Lastly, Miles garnered Preseason All-Conference accolades as a punt returner as part of the Blue Ribbon Preseason Forecast.
KICKOFFS FOR TDS
In the 2011 MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, Rashad Ross showed off the track and field speed that won him the 2012 MPSF conference title in the indoor 200-meter dash as he took the second half kickoff back 98-yards for a touchdown, the third kickoff return for a touchdown of the season (Miles had the other two). The three touchdowns in 2011 is a school record, the first time in school history a team has ever returned multiple kickoffs for touchdowns.
WELCOME BACK, BRANDON
The 2011 Sun Devil squad took a hit prior to the season as Brandon Magee when down during preseason drills with an Achilles injury. Last year’s loss is this year’s gain, however, as Brandon Magee is set to compete as a redshirt senior and will be among the team’s leaders from the linebacker position. During a breakout junior year, Magee showed the stuff he was made of with 73 total tackles (second on the team) and 48 solo tackles. Magee signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox to play baseball after he leaves ASU but he is committed to the 2012 campaign and will be among the most visible players on and off the field as the season progresses. Magee was named to the Butkus Award Preseason Watch List, given annually to the nation’s top linebacker, and has received much praise from ASU coaches during the offseason in regards to his work ethic and potential.
AND YOU, DEANTRE
There were few players on the field as explosive as then-freshman Deantre Lewis was during the 2010 season. Lewis tallied 987 total yards of offense on the year with 539 rushing yards on just 92 carries (5.9 ypr) and 370 yards on 23 receptions (16.1 ypc). Lewis was forced to sit out the 2011 season with injury, however, and will be looking to pick up where he left off as the 2012 season commences. Lewis adds a whole new dynamic to a backfield already stacked with talent and in a running corps that might rank among the top in the conference before the season is over.
The 2012 Sun Devil roster features 17 seniors at the time of publication, many of which who will play pivotal roles as the season goes on. Brandon Magee (LB), Jamal Miles (WR/KR/PR), Cameron Marshall (RB) and Josh Hubner (P) have all already earned recognition on assorted watch lists and preseason All-Conference teams.
JUST KICKING IT
Redshirt freshman kicker Alex Garoutte turned in a solid season in his first year as the kicker. Garoutte finished the year with 108 points, tops on the team. He finished the season 15-22 on fields goals, including a long of 49-yards. He had a string of six consecutive made field goals between the Utah and Colorado games, and finished the season making six of his final seven. He also went 52-53 in PATs, with his only miss a block. He closed out 2011 making 45 straight extra points. His 108 points were the second-most scored by a freshman or redshirt freshman kicker in the country.
PIN ‘EM DEEP
Redshirt senior punter Josh Hubner was among the best punters in the nation when it came to pinning opponents down the field, finishing the year tied for 17th in the nation with 24 punts inside the 20. Hubner finished the year with averaging 41.3 yards per punt with seven punts of 50 or more yards and 24 of his 62 punts called for fair catches as he played in all 13 games at the position for the Sun Devils in just his first season with the program. Hubner was selected as a Athlon Sports Preseason All-Pac-12 third-team pick at the position.
Without even a snap taken in the 2012 season, already several Sun Devils are being honored on numerous preseason watch lists and All-Conference teams. Jamal Miles, ASU’s versatile kick returner and wide receiver, leads the way with numerous selections after being named to Phil Steele’s All-Pac-12 squad as a kick returner (second team) and wide receiver (fourth team). He is also named to the College Football Performance Awards Watch List as a kick returner, punt returner and All-Purpose player.
Cameron Marshall returns for his senior season also as a Phil Steele pick on the All-Pac-12 second team as a running back in addition to being honored my a placement on the 76th Annual Maxwell Award Watch List, given annually to America’s outstanding football player by the National College Football Awards Association. Marshall also earned recognition on the Doak Walker Award Preseason Watch List. The award is given annually to the nation’s top running back.
Linebacker Brandon Magee will look to bounce back after missing the 2011 season to injury and is already garnering recognition by being placed on the Butkus Award Preseason Watch List and is a nominee for the AFCA Good Works Team, as well as being named to Steele’s All-Pac-12 preseason second team. Also on the defensive end, Will Sutton was a fourth-team preseason All-Conference pick by Steele at defensive tackle.
Athlon Sports also recognized several Sun Devils on their preseason All-Conference teams as Evan Finkenberg (OL/Second Team), Osahon Irabor (CB, Third Team), Josh Hubner (P, Third Team) joined Miles (First Team PR/Second Team KR) and Marshall (Third Team RB) in earning a spot.
SECONDARY A PRIMARY
Despite several big losses to graduation on the defensive end of the ball, the Sun Devils still have plenty of talent in the defensive back positions. ASU’s top-four returning tacklers from the 2011 season all come out of the secondary, led by safety Alden Darby. Darby had 51 tackles last season and was one of the Sun Devils’ most versatile athletes, seeing time at safety and cornerback. Darby also led the team in interceptions with three and is expected to be one of the team’s leaders on and off the field in 2012. Hometown product Keelan Johnson hasn’t missed a game during his time at ASU and will provide more veteran ability at the safety spot, showcasing his talents with 48 tackles and two picks in 2011.
ASU returns both starting cornerbacks from 2011 in Osahon Irabor and Deveron Carr. Carr easily posted the most pass breakups last season with 10 while Irabor had 48 tackles and six breakups on the year and has earned recognition from coaches and media for his Spring performance.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
Arizona State will see a couple family ties during the 2012 season. Evan Goodman will join his brother Devin, who redshirt last year, as a true freshman in 2012. Both play offensive line and come to ASU from Lakeland, Fla. The tight end position features a changing of the Kohl’s as recently departed senior Trevor Kohl passes the reins off to younger brother Kody, who will be a freshman tight end this year. Junior wide receiver Kevin Ozier is the cousin of former Sun Devil standout running back J.R. Redmond.
SUN DEVILS VS. SEC
Arizona State holds an 0-5 all-time mark against SEC schools. ASU is 0-2 against Georgia, 0-1 against LSU and 0-2 against Arkansas. This season will mark the third time the Sun Devils have traveled to what is now an SEC school when they take on Missouri on Sept. 15. The Sun Devils last travelled to an SEC school in 2009 as the team fell to Georgia in Athens, 21-20. On 1951, ASU played the Razorbacks in Arkansas (who were then a member of the SWC). They also played Arkansas in the 1985 Holiday Bowl.
SUN DEVILS VS. THE BIG TEN
Arizona State is 15-14 all-time against current Big Ten teams. ASU is 3-10 in Big Ten stadiums, including last season’s loss at Illinois. The Sun Devils will take on the Illini at home - where ASU is 12-4 against the Big Ten - on Sept. 8. ASU has faced every team in the conference except Indiana. The Sun Devils have faced Big Ten opponents six times in bowl games, going 4-2. Seven of the 29 games that ASU has played against Big Ten teams were against Nebraska, which is in its first season in the conference.
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
They don’t make college football schedules like they used to and the 2012 ASU schedule is the perfect example of that. The Sun Devils will take part in three Thursday night games (Aug. 30 vs. NAU, Oct. 11 at Colorado and Oct. 18 vs. Oregon). ASU will also take on rival Arizona in Tucson in a Friday-night matchup in the regular season finale on Nov. 23.
SUN DEVILS IN POSTSEASON PLAY
Arizona State made its 25th bowl appearance in school history in 2011. ASU holds an all-time mark of 12-12-1 in bowl games, dating back to its first bowl appearance in 1940, a scoreless tie with Catholic University in the Sun Bowl.
13 of this year’s Sun Devil football players were named Scholar Ballers for their work in the classroom during the 2011 season: Sil Ajawara, Mike Bercovici, Gannon Conway, Chris Coyle, Evan Finkenberg, Alex Garoutte, Brandon Johnson, Ronald Kennedy, Jr., Kody Koebensky, Brandon Magee, Kyle Middlebrooks, Max Smith and Grandville Taylor.