On Saturday three former Sun Devils will put on their college helmets for the final time in the 91st East-West Shrine Game, the nation’s oldest college All Star game, in St. Petersburg, Florida. For Lloyd Carrington, Antonio Longino, and Vi Teofilo it will be the first step in a four month process culminating in the NFL Draft to be held April 28-30 in Chicago.
These three won’t be the only Sun Devils playing in All Star games however as both Christian Westerman (Reese’s Senior Bowl) and Devin Lucien (NFLPA Collegiate Bowl) will also be looking to leave an impression with NFL general managers, coaches, scouts, and the media. And while next weekend’s Senior Bowl is generally accepted as the most prestigious of the post-season All Star games, the four Sun Devils playing this weekend will be looking to make as positive of an impact as possible through each day of practice and when given the opportunity of playing time in exhibition games they’ll play in.
While scouts and coaches will be looking at slew of specifics dependent on the position of the prospect, they’ll be testing these former Sun Devil standouts to see both how they respond against higher competition as well as how they take to coaching from assistants based out of the NFL. Teams also have the opportunity to interview players on the field directly after practice each day.
With a week’s worth of practice and game action, NFL teams will be able to start to answer many of the questions their scouting personnel have on the current group of ASU draft prospects. But before that happens, we can start to dive into the storylines surrounding them per All Star game.
East-West Shrine Game (Saturday, 2pm AZ)
In an ironic twist, Carrington, Longino, Simone, and Teofilo will be coached by former NFL and college head coach June Jones as part of the West Team’s roster. Jones you’ll remember was on the verge of becoming the next ASU head football coach in late November of 2011 before a wide scale fan and booster-led rejection of the idea inpart forced president Michael Crow to step in and circle the wagons for the search to replace Dennis Erickson. He went on to continue coaching at SMU for another two full seasons before stepping down after the Mustangs second game of the 2014 season.
ASU CB Lloyd Carrington https://t.co/dkk4OVLHxV
— Jeff Risdon (@JeffRisdon) January 20, 2016
Carrington will look to continue the trend of Todd Graham coached defensive backs to land on NFL rosters since taking over in 2012, joining the likes of Deveron Carr, Alden Darby, Keelan Johnson, Robert Nelson, Damarious Randall. After his freshman year at Pitt, he followed Graham to Tempe and finished out his career as a starter over the last two seasons for the Devils as one of the more physical run-defending corners in the Pac-12 during 2015. His toughness will not be questioned. But he’ll be out to answer questions on his speed as a corner and whether or not he could provide the flexibility of playing safety at the next level.
Antonio Longino met with representatives of the San Diego Chargers after practice on Monday according to Chase Goodbread of NFL.com, and certainly put up the production you look for from a junior college player transitioning from his first to second year with a school. Longino as the full-time starter at Devil backer lead the Pac-12 with 11 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss in 2015.
He played hurt at times this year and saved his best performance for when it mattered most with four sacks in the Territorial Cup game against Arizona. He also is a player who is highly emotional, but in a positive way, that channels his aggressiveness in his desire to attack the opposing backfield. This week he’ll need to show that he can consistently get off the line and beat offensive lineman bigger and better than the ones he dominated in the three games against Colorado, Washington, and Arizona where he totaled 8.5 sacks.
A local standout defensive lineman and wrestler at Moon Valley during his high school days, Teofilo was a cornerstone on the offensive line at the right guard position over the past three years for offensive line coach Chris Thomsen, registering 40-straight starts. No small feat considering he tore his ACL in the Sun Bowl against Duke to close out the 2014 season.
The two-time All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention winner will hang his hat on blocking for back-to-back 1,000-yard rushers in D.J. Foster and Demario Richard the past two seasons and is considered one of the smarter linemen to come through Tempe in some time. He’ll hope to win over line coaches at the next level with his run blocking ability, but his pass protection has come a long way over the course of his time as a starting guard for the Devils.
— Devin Lucien (@D_Lucien15) January 19, 2016
NFLPA Collegiate Bowl (Saturday, 4pm AZ)
As the Devils’ lone representative in this game, Lucien will have the honor of being coached by one of the brightest and most successful offensive minds the NFL has seen in the last quarter century in Mike Holmgren. He’ll be looking to carry over his red hot finish to the season into Saturday, showing he’s got a little bit of everything to make it at the next level. To that note, he’ll probably spend time with insider receivers coach Mike Wilson as well as outside receivers coach Matthew Hatchett looking to show off his versatility.
Look at 55 Christian Westerman work here. Good God https://t.co/Pa6hDh4zYE
— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) January 20, 2016
Reese’s Senior Bowl (January 30, 12:30pm AZ)
While it was disappointing to not see D.J. Foster’s name on the final list of participants in this game joining Westerman, Sun Devil fans will still get a last chance to see, who in my opinion, is their best shot at getting a player drafted this April.
Westerman was held back by an injury early in the season but can lean on the tape as the year progressed exhibiting a player that was the team’s best run-blocker and excelled at pulling around the corner en-route to blocking second-level defenders. He was a weight room warrior for the Devils that possessing surprising athleticism. But he was buried in a conference full of good guards that could see the likes of Stanford’s Joshua Garnett and UCLA’s Alex Redmond hear their names called before him in April.
These games will be the beginning of the draft process in what will then lead to the NFL Scouting Combine that takes place in a little over a month’s time. As of this week, ironically only D.J. Foster has publicly stated that he had been invited to Indianapolis.