#18 Arizona State Football 2015 Preview

Arizona State Sun Devils

Overall Rank: #18
#5 Pac-12 Conference

Arizona State Team Page#18 Arizona State Football 2015 PreviewBuy Arizona State Football Tickets

Arizona State was a contender for the Pac-12 South Championship all the way down to the wire last season but a Territorial Cup loss to Arizona left a sour taste in the mouths of Sun Devil fans. Head Coach Todd Graham has brought a toughness to the Arizona State program that will make them a tough out in the Pac-12 this season.

2014 Record: 10-3, 6-3
2014 Bowl: Hyundai Sun Bowl vs. Duke W (36-31)
Coach: Todd Graham 28-12 at Arizona State, 77-41 overall
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Norvell
Defensive Coordinator: Chris Ball and Keith Patterson

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: D.J. Foster, RB, 1,122 yards
Passing: Mike Bercovici, QB, 1, 445 yards
Receiving: D.J. Foster, RB, 688 yards
Tackles: Jordan Simone, DB, 100
Sacks: Laiu Moeakiola, LB, 5.0
Interceptions: Kweishi Brown, CB, 3

Other Key Returnees: RB DeMario Richard, C Nick Kelly, LG Christian Weatherman, CB Lloyd Carrington, K Zane Gonzalez, P Matt Haack

Key Losses: QB Taylor Kelly, WR Jaelen Strong, WR Cameron Smith, LB Davon Durant

Defense should lead the way for the Sun Devils in 2015 as they return nine starters from a unit that improved as the season went along. If it were not for a handful of isolated big plays, the stats for Arizona State defensively would have been much better last season. Jordan Simone will anchor a talented secondary. Simone is just one of those guys with a great knack of finding the football and making plays. Linebacker Laiu Moeakiola leads the group of linebackers that returns intact from a year ago. This is going to be a huge asset for the Sun Devils to have a surplus of fast talented guys who can make plays in space, which is critical in the Pac-12. Mike Bercovici takes over the full-time job of starting quarterback and had the infamous Hail Mary pass to win at USC last season. Bercovici threw 12 touchdown passes to just four interceptions, which is excellent efficiency at the quarterback position.

The offensive line has to get better in 2015 after allowing 39 sacks to opposing defenses last season, matching the 39 sacks from the Sun Devils defensively. It will be up to center Nick Kelly and left guard Christian Weatherman to stay healthy and lead the offensive line and do what it takes to protect the quarterback better. Wide receiver is another interesting question mark. The departure of Jaelen Strong and the injury to Cameron Smith, which will keep him out for the season, is going to test Arizona State all year long. D.J. Foster has great hands and should transition to wide receiver just fine this season as he had almost 700 yards receiving as a running back. Devin Lucien, a graduate transfer from UCLA, is going to have come in right away and produce to keep opposing defenses honest.

The Bottom Line:
The bar has been raised in Tempe with the Sun Devils coming off of consecutive ten win seasons. Coach Graham will know quickly what type of team he has. The opener down in Houston against Texas A&M will be a great test for his veteran football team. The conference schedule starts with USC visiting on September 26 and then a trip out to UCLA the following week. If the Sun Devils can start 2-0 in conference play, they will be in prime position to make another run at the Pac-12 South Championship in 2015. Talent wise the program is in excellent position, especially defensively, to win the Pac-12 South. The question remains how quickly the offense comes together with teams having a full offseason to prepare for Bercovici as the starter along with the offensive line and wide receiver questions. In the end, Arizona State should win nine games and be right in the mix during November with a shot the Pac-12 South Championship.

Projected Bowl: Holiday Bowl

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 168.8 (56th in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 273.5 (32, 8)
Total Offense: 442.3 (34, 7)
Scoring Offense: 36.9 (16, 3)
Rushing Defense: 157.4 (49, 8)
Pass Defense: 259.7 (103, 6)
Total Defense: 417.1 (81, 7)
Scoring Defense: 27.9 (74, 6)
Turnover Margin: 1.08 (6, 2)
Sacks: 3.00 (13, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 3.00 (109, 9)

Madness 2015 Recruit Rankings:
#77 Brady White
#105 Joseph Wicker
#180 Jason Lewis
#192 Stanley Norman


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