Freshmen Ready To Make An Impact At ASU

(AP Photo/Matt York)

ASU head coach Herm Edwards seems pretty excited about his young weapons on offense in Tempe. 

With young talent at skill positions, it’s easy to see his optimism with a wide receiver core of LV Bunkley-Shelton, Chad Johnson Jr., and Johnny Wilson. Add in running backs DeaMonte Trayanum and Daniyel Ngata, and it seems like the Sun Devils could have some future stars stepping right into the spotlight after the departures of Eno Benjamin and Brandon Aiyuk. 

“We are so young at the wide receiver position, and the running back position we have three freshmen,” Edwards said. “…We are still young at some certain positions and some guys are fighting.”

Since the day Edwards came to Arizona State, he has reiterated competition at every position. Now in year three, he’s starting to get some of the depth and battles that he envisioned from the beginning.

With young recruiters and coaches like Prentice Gill, Chris Hawkins, and Adam Breneman leading the way, more talent has come in, specifically with this 2020 recruiting class. There are veterans on the defense, and the offense is full of young potential, including at wide receiver. 

“They are in the hunt…Johnny with his length, he has tremendous catch radius and he runs faster than you think. People think because he’s a long strider maybe he can’t, he can run. And LV, he’s been fantastic,” said Edwards of his freshmen wide receivers. “He seems to make plays everyday. Now obviously it’s one thing to do it in practice and another thing when you have to go play, but both those guys, they’ll travel. They will play.”

As for the running backs, ASU has different types of runners, guys who can break tackles in Ngata, and a ground and pound back in Trayanum. Junior college transfer Rachaad White is another back to rely on, and he too is entering his first year of power-five college football. 

“They are all a little different,” Edwards said. “They all have a different skill set. Ngata is probably a little bit like Eno. He can make you miss, he’s real good with the ball in his hands, and then we have the two others. Chip (Trayanum) is a big powerful guy. When he runs through a hole, you go, ‘Woah.’ And then our other back (White) is a combination of both. He’s taller and a long running back…It’s going to be fun because all of them are basically first-year guys.”

With new faces at wide receiver and running back, the first-year players will look to make their mark in offensive coordinator Zak Hill’s new offense. 

“They haven’t played power-five football yet,” Edwards said. “So that’s going to be kind of fun to watch them and how Zak uses all those guys. That’s going to be interesting…This offense has changed a lot with how he uses them and how every week, we have a different game plan based on who the opponent is. It’s going to be fun to watch that unfold.”