Spring football practice is an exciting time. The weather in Arizona is great and it is an opportunity to get the helmet back on at a time where the start of the actual upcoming season is still a half a year away.
Unfortunately for Arizona State, the first two days of their spring practice has come with some unfortunate news. After the first day on Monday, Head Coach Todd Graham announced the suspension of former four-star JUCO prospect, linebacker Davon Durant, who was arrested on domestic violence charges. Durant is one of the top pro sects the Sun Devils signed in this past 2015 class.
On Tuesday, the news did not get much better as Graham announced that wide receiver Cameron Smith will be done for the year after having surgery on his knee.
“Cam had a very, very unique injury to his knee that was one that just wouldn’t get better,” stated Graham after practice on Tuesday. “So we elected to do surgery and he will be done for the season.”
Smith, who had 41 catches for 596 yards and six touchdowns in 2014, will take a red shirt in 2015 to recover from the surgery.
“It is somewhere were he tried to work though it, work through it, work through it and he dealt with it all year long,” mentioned Graham. “He got two or three different opinions and we just thought the best thing and in the best interest for him in the long term, was to have the surgery and it’s a lengthy, seven-eight month recovery.”
After making the announcement that he was going to return to ASU this season and not enter the NFL Draft, D.J. Foster stated that he was going to make the full-time move to the wide receiver position for the rest of his Sun Devil tenure. It is where he said he felt he could best help the team and where he will have the best opportunity at the next level. Now that move for the Sun Devils could not be more valuable.
“If you notice, that is why we have had D.J. line up at nine because that’s obviously where Cameron would have played,” explained Graham.
The nine for those at home who aren’t in the film room everyday is one of the outside receiving positions. An area where the Sun Devils do not have tremendous depth and experience. The nine normally requires speed and a deep ball threat. Players like Ellis Jefferson or JUCO transfer who red shirted last season, Eric Lauderdale are among those that have the skill set in that role but will need to step up. Fred Gammage and Jalen Harvey are also among players that could step up in Smith’s absence as well.
“Cameron Smith is a great kid and I wish the best for his recovery but we are not dwelling on it,” said ASU quarterback Mike Bercovici. “We have six or seven guys competing at receiver right now. So we are excited for guys to step up.”
“Fred Gammage is one of the hardest working kids you’ll ever see,” he added. “One of the hardest working I’ve seen at ASU. So I am excited to see him get that opportunity.”
Graham did not release the details of this “unique” injury and surgery but while he recovers, the wide receiver position now without Jaelen Strong to the NFL Draft and now Cameron Smith will have a lot of eyes on it for the duration of spring practice into fall camp.