ASU Football: Opportunities and excitement fuel new Devils
The Arizona State football team prepares for its first practice of the season on Wednesday. There’s a lot of talk about less than stellar win projections or some big name departures. But the Sun Devils are focused on things in their own building, like welcoming the nearly four full rosters of newcomers to the program.
“We have added 43 new players to our roster,” said head coach Herm Edwards. “That’s a lot of guys, we know that. But the good part is that they all wanted to come here.
Some first-year players make up this group, but many arrived in Tempe through the transfer portal. For special assistant Marvin Lewis, the transfer portal has been positive.
“When you have a player who is no longer on your team, when you replace them with a new player, you replace them with a step forward, not a step back,” Lewis said. “And I think that’s the exciting part for the coaches.
Defensive back Ro Torrence transferred from Auburn. There is now a new sense of urgency on top of excitement for his upcoming season with the Sun Devils.
“It’s very important,” Torrence said. “I only have two years left, I have to make this one count. I have no more time to lose, I have to get where I’m trying to go.
Players and coaches understand the importance of these new opportunities.
“The one thing about this opportunity for a lot of these guys is it’s like NFL free agency,” Lewis said of the newcomers. “They will put their best foot forward straight away, and so they are motivated to play well. And that’s exciting for everyone.
With Torrence’s desired destination, like many other members of the team, ultimately being professional football. Arizona State, which has a wealth of NFL experience on the coaching staff, seemed like a smart stop on the journey.
“Things are set up here which hopefully if [players] are gifted and talented enough to take it to the next level, that they’ve been successful here and that they’re prepared enough, that it’s not such a rude awakening,” Lewis said of the Sun’s professional coaching style. Devils. “They know what to expect, and I think that’s very important.
Emory Jones, Florida’s top quarterback transfer, called that coaching experience “motivational” and one of the main draws of the Sun Devil program.
“That was a big factor for me,” Jones said. “We all aspire to step up to the next level, and just knowing where Coach Thomas (OC/quarterbacks coach) came from, his experience and how he can develop his players was definitely a big factor for me. “
For tight end Messiah Swinson, a transfer from Missouri, the new move to Tempe actually offers him the exciting chance to get back to the familiar.
“Just an opportunity to play my game,” Swinson said. “Being somewhere for the last two years where I had to play a game as a tight end that didn’t come naturally to me and something that I really didn’t feel like I was emphasizing all I could do , I’m just excited to finally be able to do this here.
The Sun Devils will now begin their pre-season camp before kicking off their home season against NAU on Thursday, September 1 at Sun Devil Stadium.