ASU took on Southern Utah in their first game of the season and it went as expected. The Sun Devils took the win 41-14 but it wasn’t without their fair share of mistakes, especially after having 13 penalties (11 in the first half). All three coaches, Zak Hill, Antonio Pierce, and Herm Edwards echoed the same voice, “This isn’t who we are.”
Even though ASU was favored by 45 points, and most of the starters were out by the third quarter, there were still some major takeaways. We’re going to be taking a look every week at the players on ASU’s team that are on my NFL Draft Watchlist.
QB Jayden Daniels: Daniels looked like his normal self, using his legs to create extra yards and extend plays. Right away, Daniels had a near interception on a pass that lost its zip on a comeback route, but he turned it around with some nice bootleg play action passes. It was a pretty average game as he showed what we knew and nothing more. In his next game I’ll be looking to see him get more comfortable with dealing with pressure in the pocket.
RB Rachaad White: Already making a name for himself in the first game was Rachaad White. He totaled two touchdowns and had nine yards per carry. He consistently showed his explosiveness and ability to keep his legs churning to fight for extra yards. He also showed up as ASU’s punt returner with a return of 36 yards. Right now he projects as a mid-late round pick who’s explosive enough, and has the decisiveness in-between the tackles to succeed.
CB Jack Jones: Jones loves to get involved, plain and simple. The former 5-star recruit immediately displayed his high-energy playstyle as he forced an early fumble. There were multiple times he’d come off the edge to blow up a run and make his presence felt. Jones also displayed his elite click and close ability as he played primarily off-man coverage. One thing to mention, his energy is unmatched as he was always raising his hands to up-lift the crowd on third downs. All in all, he’s a very physical corner who always ends up around the ball. Love him as a mid-round pick this year.
CB Chase Lucas: Last year he was ranked high on my board as a boundary corner but he played most of the game inside the slot. This definitely brought some challenges as he got beat on a couple quick slant routes. On the boundary he’s being tasked with using his length which is exceptional, but the slot will continue to test his quickness & footwork. Defensive Coordinator Antonio Pierce explained it as “The talent we have in the secondary allows us to move guys around, so Lucas will continue to play all around.” Didn’t make any big plays of note and did his part in coverage, but I’m curious to see how he handles this change to the slot for the rest of the season.
LB Darien Butler: Hands down the most impressive player of the game. Butler immediately was a force coming downhill against the run and laying the wood. On top of his success against the run, he had two eerily similar interceptions on shallow crossing routes that he perfectly timed. Great start to the season, but we’ll see if he can become a versatile piece that can continue to thrive in all aspects of the game.
We’ll be back with another update next week after ASU takes on UNLV at home.
You can follow me on Twitter @alameda_views for more NFL Draft updates for the Arizona State Sun Devils.