ASU Football: The defense on senior day

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sport

Saluting each of the Arizona State seniors on defense and on special teams.

The seniors on the Arizona State football team have endured plenty during their time as Sun Devils. Most were recruited by Dennis Erickson and played under his staff for two seasons. Some were junior college transplants, convinced to join Todd Graham's bus when the wheels began rolling.

On Saturday, the seniors will play their final regular season home game at Sun Devil Stadium. After long careers and a roller coaster-type journey through the Arizona State program, they can finally celebrate.

Here's a look at the graduating seniors on the defensive side of the football and special teams.

Alden Darby-Safety: Darby made an impact in his freshman season at Arizona State, seeing action in 11 games in 2010. As a sophomore in 2011, Darby recorded 51 tackles, seven passes defended and one fumble recovery. In 2012, he earned Second Team All-Pac-12 Honors after racking up 80 tackles and three interceptions.

Darby has established himself as the leader of the secondary both on and off the field in his senior campaign. He has 29 tackles and and two interceptions this season. Darby has earned numerous awards for his excellence off the field, including winning the Hard Hat Award as the MVP of Arizona State's strength and conditioning program in 2010.

Davon Coleman-Defensive Line: Coleman has been on of the most improved players this season for Arizona State. He went from being in Todd Graham's dog house to scoring a touchdown against Colorado. With injuries alone the defensive line, Coleman has seen extensive playing time this season.

Coleman appeared in 26 games in his first two seasons in Tempe, finishing with 11 tackles for loss in 2012. Coleman has graduated already, studying criminal justice during his time at Arizona State.

Gannon Conway-Defensive End: Conway is a local product out of Gilbert, Arizona. He came to Arizona State in 2010 and after redshirting his first season on campus, he played in six games in 2011. Conway earned a starting spot in 2013 and has been one of Arizona State's most consistent defensive linemen this season.

Alex Garoutte-Kicker: Garoutte has had an up-and-down career at Arizona State. He was 6-11 last season on field goals and was replaced this season by Zane Gonzalez. However, he is a weapon on kickoffs and has one of the strongest legs in the conference.

Osahon Irabor-Cornerback: Irabor has established himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the Pac-12. Last year, Irabor led the team with 14 passes defended and did not have a single pass interference called against him. Irabor has started every game since 2011 and will be one of the hardest defenders to replace after this season.

Anthony Jones-Linebacker: After redshirting in 2009 and missing all of 2010, Jones played in 24 games from 2011-2012. Last year, Jones racked up 26 tackles and two passes defended, playing primarily special teams and providing depth at linebacker.

Jones started the season as Arizona State's spur linebacker, but lost the job earlier in the year. Jones still provides depth at the position and an impact on special teams.

Kipeli Koniseti-Linebacker- Koniseti has been a career backup since arriving in Tempe in 2011. The Sacramento native plays mostly on special teams and backs up Carl Bradford at the DEVIL backer position. In three years, Koniseti has seen action in over 30 games.

Steffon Martin-Linebacker: Martin, like a lot of Sun Devils recently, went the junior college route before stepping up to major college football. He starred at Arizona Western College and was recruited by Texas A&M, Ohio State and Arkansas. Martin stepped into the SAM linebacker position last year and made 27 tackles, including 6.5 for loss. Martin has been in and out of the starting linebacker rotation this season, but still sees plenty of action on Saturdays.

Robert Nelson-Cornerback: Nelson has had his best season in 2013 as a senior, He intercepted two passes against Oregon State and added another major INT against Utah in the fourth quarter. Nelson transferred from UL-Monroe and made an impact from the very start. He made his first career start in the 2012 Territorial Cup and intercepted a pass in the final two games of 2012.

Because of injuries, Nelson has also played a little bit of field safety, and the senior also returns punts. Nelson's play has improved each season he has been in Tempe.

Junior Onyeali-Defensive End- Onyeali broke onto the scene in 2010, when he was named the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year. Onyeali has been a staple of the defensive line the past four years, posting over 16 sacks in his career.

Injuries plagued Onyeali, as he missed games in 2011 because of a meniscus tear and most of this season with a shoulder injury.

Jake Sheffield-Defensive Line: Sheffield is perhaps best known for carrying the American flag out of the tunnel every home game. The senior has seen little action in two seasons in Tempe, recording only nine tackles in two seasons. Sheffield is a former Marine and served 18 months in Iraq.

Will Sutton-Defensive tackle: The reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year has been one of Arizona State best players the past two seasons. In 2012, he posted 23.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks on his way to becoming Arizona State's 18th consensus All-American.

Even though Sutton's numbers may be down in 2013, he is still having an equal impact he did in 2012. Sutton is almost un-blockable one-on-one and frees up other members of the Arizona State defense. Todd Graham called him the best defensive lineman he's ever coached.

Grandville Taylor-Linebacker: The former walk-on earned a scholarship in 2012 and has been part of the linebacker rotation the past two years. Taylor is a standout on special teams and has played in over 30 games over the past three seasons.

Chris Young-Linebacker: Young was a teammate of both Darwin Rogers and Steffon Martin at Arizona Western Junior College. He came to Tempe and has been a force in the middle of the Arizona State defense. Last year, Young was the team's third leading tackler, starting all 13 games.

This season, Young has stepped up as the leader of the linebacking corps, his fourth quarter sack of Brett Hundley on Saturday was a game-changing play and Young always seems to find himself around the football.

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