It's hard enough to look into the crystal ball and predict how a depth chart will break down with the season a full four months away. What makes it even more difficult is the guessing game surrounding sophomore RB Deantre Lewis: will he be back in maroon and gold in 2011?
Lewis was wounded in a random shooting at a relative's home in Riverside, California back in February. The plan is for Lewis to return to the field when fall camp starts up. Hopefully that is the case, and we're going to move ahead with the depth chart assuming that Lewis will play for ASU this season.
Cameron Marshall: Marshall was the feature back for the Sun Devils in 2010, and as a sophomore he compiled 787 rushing yards and nine touchdowns in 12 games. He was also very active in the passing game, picking up 227 yards on 21 catches.
Now a junior, Marshall will likely continue taking the majority of snaps out of the backfield for ASU in 2011. His carries spiked when QB Brock Osweiler took over, getting 40 carries and 210 rushing yards in the final two games of the season. In the spring game, Marshall had only three carries for seven yards, but we know what he's capable of in regular season play come September.
Next up on the depth chart? Deantre Lewis.
Deantre Lewis: As a freshman, Lewis impressed ASU fans with his speed, aggression and explosiveness out of the backfield. He played three incredible games in a row: 100+ yard rushing efforts against Oregon State and 2011 BCS bowl combatants Wisconsin and Oregon. His production slowed at the end of the season, but the potential is obvious.
Lewis will provide another quality option for Osweiler on swing routes. I'm looking forward to his development into a more well-rounded version of Jacquizz Rodgers.
James Morrison: Before last season, we thought Morrison was going to be a factor for ASU. A Phoenix native, Morrison got eight carries in the season opener against Portland State, but only earned ten more over the rest of the season. Maybe it was the great success of Lewis and Marshall that pushed Morrison to the bench, but he got a good long look in the spring game, getting ten carries for 25 yards. He will likely continue his role as a reserve.
Kyle Middlebrooks: A classic tweener, Middlebrooks was also profiled in the wide receiver depth chart I did last week. He will certainly get carries in 2011, but he is most valuable in the receiving and kick return game for the Devils at this point.
Marcus Washington: I want to call this guy the X-Factor. Washington had three carries for 28 yards and a touchdown in the spring game. Last season, he played exclusively on the scout team and thus is now a redshirt freshman for the Sun Devils. He is built similarly to Marshall, and his work and experience from last season could carry over into Saturdays come this fall.
Next week, we'll take a look at the linebackers of Arizona State.