Some compelling storylines are starting to emerge from Sun Devils camp now that season has begun to inch closer and closer. Many of our questions have yet to be answered, but lets take a look at some of the interesting items that trickled out in the locals this past week.
The Arizona Republic took a look at everyone's favorite backup quarterback, Danny Sullivan. Sullivan's frustration with being the backup for the past 26 regular season games is beginning to show.
"To know that it's going to be my third year being the backup (is frustrating)," Sullivan said. "But I got to take it in stride and just got to go with it. Hopefully my time comes, because he's (Carpenter) the guy right now, and I got to support him."
Despite his somewhat underwhelming command of the English language, Sullivan has shown that he has the skills to be a competent backup with his performance in the Holiday Bowl. Something Sullivan is quick to remind his possible detractors.
"Everyone can say that it was meaningless," he said, "because I don't know how many people have told me that. Well, shame on you. I'll take it as a real personal issue, because I'll strive off that if you think that."
Shame on you. Sullivan has the support of Erickson, though, and is definitely the number 2 quarterback. Whether he has the starting job locked up once Rudy graduates is another matter, and something that probably is not guaranteed given the potential of the players behind Sullivan, but for the upcoming season Sullivan is your backup quarterback.
One receiver that Sullivan will not have next season is Michael Jones. The East Valley Tribune catches up with Jones after his short stint in the Yankees farm system this summer, and has a few quotes from the coach and Jones on the upcoming season. Reading between the lines you can tell that Erickson was none too pleased that Jones decided to sign with the Yankees and waste some crucial training time hitting .189 and striking out twice as many times as he reached base with a hit. (18k vs. 9 hits) Jones also lost his scholarship from signing - sucks for him - but, technically, this is a boon to ASU because it allows us to give his scholarship to another player who would rather spend his full time being a Sun Devil student athlete as opposed to pretending he has major league talent.
If Jones has a solid season and builds on the flashes of brilliance he displayed last year, he will easily be a first day pick and could even be a first ROUND pick. Some of the ESPN mock drafts have him going in the first round, and nearly all of them have Jones ranked as one of the top 100 college prospects for the 2009 NFL draft.
The East Valley Tribune really either needs A) A better editing staff, B) Better journalists, or C) Both because this story features quite a blatant contradiction between the reporter and athlete. The journalist, Dan Zeiger, writes:
His tall frame and leaping ability have made Jones ASU's big-play receiving threat, with a team-high 10 scores last season. He would like to build speed and strength before the 2009 NFL draft.
Oh, so Jones will be focusing on building strength and speed this coming season then? The very next setence Zeiger drops this quote from Jones:
"Now is not the time to worry about getting fast and strong," Jones said. "Now is the time to worry about building chemistry with my teammates and getting ready for the season....
Zeiger also has a story about Freshman linebacker, Brandon Magee. Magee, the 26th best outside linebacker recruit according to Rivals.com, was also selected in the 29th round of the Amateur Baseball Draft in June. The Tampa Bay Rays offered Magee a larger signing bonus than most 29th round picks get, but Magee decided to go to ASU instead.
ASU is lucky, because Rivals.com has Magee's 40 time listed at a very impressive 4.44. If anyone remembers last season's Thanksgiving Day Massacre versus USC (I know, I know - you spent months trying to forget...) then you wil remember our biggest problem, aside from the O-Line and Lawrence Jackson, was trying to contain USC's speed. Our linebackers simply were not in the same league as USC's running backs and it showed everytime JDB handed off the rock. Erickson's ability to recruit players like Magee is a huge step forward for the program.
The first full contact practice for the Sun Devils was on Friday, and two-a-days start this weekend. Things are starting to get interesting, folks.