In the midst of monsoon season here in the Valley it seems only fitting to compare the unpredictability of July days to the start of the Arizona State football season in just under five weeks.
Are we simply sitting in the calm before the storm of the Herm Edwards era or could the new-look, new attitude Sun Devils rise towards the top of the Pac-12 south when the smoke clears after Thanksgiving?
The road won’t be an easy one this fall according to one well-respected college football insider.
“This Arizona State team is going to have to fight just to get to a bowl game this year,” ESPN’s Phil Steele said to Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a recent phone interview.”I’m not looking at them as a true contender in the Pac-12 south.”
Despite a difficult non-conference schedule which includes a home date against Michigan State and a tricky road trip to San Diego State, ASU does have the luxury of key returning pieces on each side of the ball, starting with senior quarterback Manny Wilkins who has accounted for 44 career total touchdowns and over 6,000 total yards.
Tryna do things the right way . 5️⃣
— Manny Wilkins Jr. (@MannyWilkins5) July 11, 2018
“With Wilkins you’re looking at a guy who’s a leader,” Steele said. “He really took command of the team this spring. He’s a guy who becoming a more comfortable pocket passer.”
Wilkins main target will once again be former Chandler High star receiver N’Keal Harry who will be a top priority for opposing defensive coordinators entering his junior season after catching 82 passes for 1,1142 yards and eight touchdowns.
Best decision I’ve ever made🔱 pic.twitter.com/vMkdA3GtG7
— Keal (@NkealHarry15) January 12, 2017
“He’s just scratching the surface,” Steele said of Harry. “Every day he gets better. He will go up and get almost every one of those 50/50 balls…he takes a 50/50 ball and turns it into a 90/10 ball.”
People around the country are curious to see how Edwards handles his first season as a college head coach.
We’ll all find out soon enough.