Photos by Steve Rodriguez
Guest Blogger Jamarr Robinson
With summer camp's first practice taking place the players looked excited and enthusiastic to start the new 2011-12 season. With the departure of two defensive tackles, Saia Falahola and Lawrence Guy to the NFL, and the recent departure of DE James Brooks many might believe the Devils would have a tough time in the trenches this year. Although last years D-Line, along with linebacker support from notable preseason All-American Vontaze Burfict, lead the Devil's to place themselves in high standings to end the season, new defensive line coach Scott Brown has the unit getting back to the basics working on hand placement, footwork and hitting the bags. As practice went on it seemed that the first and second team, which included newcomer Davon Coleman, are all reacting well to a new style of hands on coaching. Players in the first team D-line, including senior leaders Bo Moos and Jamarr Jarrett, made multiple plays in the backfield as well as on the quarterback during the scrimmage period. Jarrett especially looked very physical and athletic pulling off a back flip half way through practice at 270 lbs. In one on one's redshirt sophmore Will Sutton, who steps in for Guy, showed why he was highly recruited and missed last year as he dominated the pass rush. Sophmore standout Junior Onyeali, also a preseason All-American, showed off his speed and athleticism while seeming to be the most vocal of the group. Corey Adams and Toa Tuitea were nagged by injuries last year, but both look to prove themselves in this year's tackle rotation. So despite the loss of two starters, ASU's front seven looks to be solid. It will be exciting to watch how the defensive line matches up in the new Pac-12, especially with #7 roaming behind them.
As a former linebacker here at ASU, I've seen first hand what the Sun Devils are capable of with coach Dennis Erickson running the show. Starting with a bang in 2007-08 season, Erickson lead the program to a 10-3 record and created excitement surrounding the program that we (the players) hadn't seen in awhile. We know that last years 6-6 record didn't at all show the type of team the Devils really were, especially since they lost four of those games by a touchdown or less and had one of the nation's best defenses. With a stadium that holds 71k+ and a school that has 60k+ students one would hope that Sun Devil Stadium could be close to capacity. There are many reasons for why it isn't, including the economy, but as fall camp starts to roll around and the season unfolds, I think Sun Devil fans will be proud to support this years team. It's time to realize the possibilities of our first Pac-12 season! Many college football analysts have predicted a potentially great season for our Devils. With the first Pac-12 season about to unfold ASU has been ranked as high as 20th nationwide, added new home and away uniforms with a black alternate that people have been excited about for years, returns 19 starters and have seven home games that include some notable opponents (Missouri - 18, USC, Arizona, & Cal). ASU has been dubbed one of the best in the conference and a possible winner of the Pac 12 South. Who wouldn't want to be apart of the first Pac 12 campaign? So what more could you ask for as a fan and a student? With packed stands, students and fans alone can change the atmosphere and outcome of the Sun Devil football season, add more school spirit, help impress top recruits nationwide and gain national attention that this school and team deserves. It's time and I encourage fans to be a part of history. I know I'll be there.
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John Hennessy, Stanford (October, 2000)
Michael Crow, Arizona State (July 1, 2002)
Edward Ray, Oregon State (June 5, 2003)
Elson Floyd, Washington State (Dec. 13, 2006)
Gene Block, UCLA (August 1, 2007)
Richard Lariviere, Oregon (July 1, 2009)
C.L. Max Nikias, USC (August 3, 2010)
Michael Young, Washington (July 1, 2011)
How good has Oklahoma City been to the Sun Devil softball team in its past 12 games? Below is a breakdown of the 38-run difference (60-22) in the past 12 games at the Women's College World Series heading towards tonight's second game with Florida.
2011 (ASU 27 RUNS, OPPONENTS 10)
ASU 14, Florida 4 (June 6, 2011 at College World Series at Oklahoma City)
ASU 4, Baylor 0 (June 5, 2011 at College World Series at Oklahoma City)
ASU 6, Florida 5 (June 3, 2011 at College World Series at Oklahoma City)
ASU 3, Oklahoma 1 (June 2, 2011 at College World Series at Oklahoma City)
2009 (ASU 9 RUNS, OPPONENTS 10)
Alabama 6, ASU 2 (May 30, 2009 College World Series at Oklahoma City)
Washington 1, ASU 0 (May 29, 2009 College World Series at Oklahoma City)
ASU 7, Missouri 3 (May 28, 2007 College World Series at Oklahoma City)
2008 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS (ASU 24 RUNS, OPPONENTS 2)
ASU 11, Texas A&M 0 (June 3, 2008 College World Series at Oklahoma City)
ASU 3, Texas A&M 0 (June 2, 2008 College World Series at Oklahoma City)
ASU 3, Alabama 1 (June 1, 2008 College World Series at Oklahoma City)
ASU 4, UCLA 0 (May 30, 2008 College World Series at Oklahoma City)
ASU 3, Alabama 1 (May 29, 2008 College World Series at Oklahoma City)
By Sue Jones
Arizona State University football fans used to watch Kenny Mitchell play wide receiver in Sun Devil Stadium. Now Mitchell watches over them as a member of the Phoenix police force.
Mitchell's speed and agility against opponents during his days as a Sun Devil wide receiver, prepared him for his current occupation in fugitive apprehension, where he now chases down criminals. This former Parade All American (1994, along with current Tennessee Titan's wide receiver Randy Moss), played professional football with the Washington Redskins, and Philadelphia Eagles, as well as playing in the arena league with the New England Sea Wolves. After 3 years of football, and a torn hamstring, he decided to hang up his pads and spikes to pursue another type of "field".
Originally, he decided to join the Air Force because of his childhood fascination with flying planes. But due to unforeseen circumstances, his life took a different turn. After going through the lengthy process of registering and filling out the necessary paperwork, Mitchell was surprised to learn that his paperwork had been lost; more amazingly, all of it, and that there was no file on him whatsoever. The only thing he could do was re-register and begin the process all over again.
"There is always a reason for something and God works in mysterious ways," Mitchell said.
In the meantime, he had also applied to the Phoenix Police Department. While one door closed, another one opened. The department called him and extended him an offer to come on board as a patrol officer. Kenny accepted, and the rest as they say, is history. After spending four years on patrol in the Maryvale precinct, he went on to a different role as a detective and then became involved with fugitive apprehension.
In a recent Ride Along with the Phoenix Police Detective squad, I was able to see how Mitchell protects our community.
At the beginning Mitchell's shift, his cell phone rings. The theme from the detective show, "Dragnet" starts to play, and just as if he was back in college before the big game, Mitchell gets ready for the possibility that anything could happen. During his seven years on the force, he has witnessed just about everything. From bullets flying past his head, to observing troubling suicides, Mitchell knows the importance of not taking life for granted. Even though he was well aware of the hazardous situations he could face in the line of duty, Mitchell said he realized that being out in the field was a perfect fit. His favorite part of the job is the adrenaline rush he gets while in pursuit of tracking down fugitives who are trying to escape. He said the thrill of catching bad guys is comparable to the feeling of scoring a touchdown on the football field.
The entire process of catching criminals is more complex than people might think. The initial step is taken when Detective Steve Armenta follows up on cases dealing with violent crimes. Once the warrant checks out, and the green light is given, he collaborates with Mitchell who is then able to apprehend the person(s) involved. From that point, Mitchell picks up a packet of data from the information analyst, who he calls, "Superwoman," to determine the offender's last known whereabouts. This is when Mitchell and his squad use their sleuthing skills and spring into action. Mitchell notes that technology has played an important role in recent years.
"It's almost impossible for someone not to leave an electronic footprint," he said.
In a recent incident with Mitchell and his squad, an individual tried several different escape routes with no avail. In order to avoid detection, the suspect first hid in an attic. When Mitchell's squad climbed into the attic, they tried reasoning with the suspect to come quietly into custody. However, instead of complying, the individual then tried to escape from the attic by kicking their way through the drywall in order to drop down three stories to the gravel below. The plan was foiled when the suspect fell through the attic floor into a second story bathroom below, landing perfectly and avoiding injury. The squad watched in amazement as the suspect was in the attic one minute, and gone the next. But instead of giving up, the individual raced through the bedroom below and vaulted himself through an open window, landing on the outdoor patio roof. From there the individual jumped onto the adjoining wall of the neighboring house, and leaped into the neighbor's yard. In the meantime, Joe Newbern, a member of Mitchell's squad was hot on the suspect's trail. Newbern ran through the house and scaled the neighbor's wall, tackling the individual who was still trying to make a fast getaway. The suspect was then caught and taken into custody. Mitchell's squad had some assistance in the apprehension from another ASU alumni and Sun Devil cheerleader Cory Rhodes; whose occupation is now adult probation. Rhodes assisted Mitchell by hoisting him up into the attic, using a combination of muscle and cheerleader dexterity.
Mitchell's squad deserves recognition for their hard work. Last year in Phoenix, there were over 1,700 arrests, and his squad was ranked number one with over 400 of those arrests. They have even assisted when drug problems in Mexico cross over the Arizona border. He says being a part of this team reminds him of his days on the ASU football field because of the way they protect each other and have the common goal of winning in the game against criminals.
"They count on me to cover them and we always have each other's back," Mitchell said.
His popularity with teammates and coaches as a Sun Devil has carried over to the respect and admiration he has now earned with his squad.
"Kenny is one of the finest people I've ever known and in my 11 years of being on the force, I can only count on one hand the number of people he would say that about," fellow squad member Kris Marrero said.
Marrero went on to say that when they are going up against a fugitive who has a potential for violence, they definitely want Mitchell behind them.
In a world where not only sports but life itself is hindered by corruption, Kenny Mitchell has always managed to stay grounded. Whether it was in college or the NFL, Mitchell always stayed on the right side of the law and avoided getting into trouble.
This is due in part to the good people surrounding him during his childhood. Mitchell's father was a Highway Patrolman, and his uncle was also on the police force. One very important influence to Mitchell, as well as his hero, is his grandfather, a former sheriff. Mitchell says that growing up the two had many good conversations in his home state of Ohio.
"My grandfather knew that I was an old soul, and he made me the man that I am," Mitchell said.
Even with everything he has seen while on the force, Mitchell's positive outlook on life and easy going sense of humor gets him through the toughest of days.
So what's the next game plan for Kenny Mitchell? He will soon begin training to become a member of Phoenix's elite SWAT team. His squad members are very enthusiastic about this step of his journey because they know he is an excellent shooter who uses sound judgment.
It can honestly be said that Mitchell gives back to Arizona State as well as the community in a way that most people are unable to. He puts his life on the line every day. The people of this great city can sleep easier at night knowing that one of the home team is out there protecting families he cherishes as much as his own.
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