The Backstory: We have certainly come across some unique trends during our "Sun Devil Legends" series, but No. 47 might present us with one of the most interesting to date. The first seven Sun Devils to wear the number each wore it for just one season, and some went on to fantastic careers in other jerseys.
For example, Dave Graybill and Dave Fonner both donned No. 47 early on in their careers, but the Sun Devil stars of the 50s made their names in jersey numbers they wore after 47. In fact, Graybill and Fonner each became All-Border Conference stars, but neither of them stuck with 47 through their careers.
Despite the peculiar history, there is one player who went on to stardom with a 47 on his back. In the late 1980s, Sun Devil linebacker Drew Metcalf roamed the field and helped lead the Sun Devils' defense in the era following the program's first Rose Bowl appearance.
The Player: Drew Metcalf (1986-1990)
After the 1986 Sun Devil football team danced to Arizona State's first Rose Bowl appearance, the program had some definite rebuilding to do. The 1986 team was full of talent and veteran leadership, and the biggest obstacle in the coming seasons would be to replicate the success and set the foundation for the future.
As a redshirt freshman, Drew Metcalf witnessed the Sun Devils' Rose Bowl season from the sidelines. Though the inside linebacker would never appear in the Grandaddy of Them All himself, he did learn valuable lessons while saving a year of eligibility. In doing so, Metcalf became a force to be reckoned with over the next three seasons.
Metcalf made his debut as a regular starter in the 1987 season and he did not relinquish his position over the next four seasons. While his first season gave him an opportunity to get his feet wet, Metcalf followed that up with a 104-tackle campaign in 1988 that proved he deserved to be mentioned among the conference's best linebackers.
In 1989, Metcalf made his first appearance on an all-conference list as he became an Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 performer. Fortunately for coach Larry Marmie, Metcalf's drive to improve remained consistent and he was one of the lone bright spots on the 1990 squad. That season, Metcalf earned First Team All-Conference Honors as well as a Scholar Athlete award from the National Football Foundation.
Though Metcalf's teams stood in the shadows of the Sun Devils' first Rose Bowl squad, he managed to separate himself from the pack and prove his worth as a valuable asset.