Devils Den Blog

Five Months and Counting for the Devils

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With 16 returning starters, expectations are going to be pretty high for Arizona State going into the 2015 college football season. They were unable to accomplish everything they were hoping for last year, but they will arrive at the season opener again Texas A&M on September 5 with a chip on their shoulder.

When looking around early pre-season rankings, the Sun Devils seem to fall somewhere just outside the top-10. Oregon, USC, and Stanford seem to be the early favorites right now in the conference, but there is no reason why Arizona State can’t take home the South division in the PAC-12 with a little luck and a healthy roster.

Senior Mike Bercovici, the new starter at quarterback, will have one of the better groups of running backs in the Pac-12 to take the pressure off of him as he becomes acclimated to being the full-time starter. Senior wide receiver D.J. Foster is going to get plenty of all-conference consideration once again as he transitions from running back, where he has played the previous three seasons with the Devils. What makes Foster so dangerous is that he gives offensive coordinator Mike Norvell so many options to utilize him in order to put points up on the board.

The addition of Foster to the receiving corps is key as they will be forced to replace two starters from 2014 in stand-out Jaelen Strong (declared for the NFL draft after his junior season) and junior Cameron Smith who will undergo knee surgery and miss all of 2015.

While losing three playmakers like Strong, Smith, and quarterback Taylor Kelly stings, they should be able to get through the situation with so many returning starters. Speaking of returners, Arizona State will not be doing a lot of changes on defense this year at all. They return almost all their starters from a year ago, and they are now a year older, stronger and wiser. They had a decent defense statistically last year, but they’re hoping to keep opponents under 27.9 points for contest in 2015.

When looking at the schedule, Oregon comes to Tempe and they avoid having to play Stanford in the regular season at all. UCLA will be their toughest conference opponent on the road, but they do get USC and Arizona at Sun Devil Stadium to help out with a record as well. It is going to be very competitive in the Pac-12 South division this upcoming year, but Arizona State seems to have everything falling into their place to continue their current streak of back-to-back ten win seasons.

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