ASU Football: 'All-Sun Devils second team' safeties

As a safety, you're the last line of defense. You're not only the last man in coverage, you're also the player that is in the position to make game-saving tackles. Here's a look at some of the best safeties that have roamed around in the Arizona State secondary.

John Harris

Harris was a member of one of the best teams in Arizona State history -- the 1975 team that finished with a perfect 12-0 record. 

However, Harris did not do most of his damage until the next two seasons. Harris accumulated seven interceptions in 1976, and added five more in 1977. Harris' 16 career interceptions rank him third all-time in Sun Devil football history.

Harris also excelled as a returner. He returned a punt for a touchdown in both 1976 and 1977, and averaged 11.3 yards per return.

Harris left school after 1977 for the NFL and  played for both the Seahawks and the Vikings finishing with 50 career interceptions.

Darren Willis

Willis is the only member of our All-Sun Devils safeties to have won a Rose Bowl. Willis was the anchor of the secondary in 1986, the season in which Arizona State defeated Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

Willis was a three-year starter and finished his career with six total interceptions and earned All-Conference honors in 1986 as well.

Willis went on to play professional football in the Arena Football League for the Tampa Bay Storm. He helped lead the Storm to an Arena Bowl Championship in 1991, as he caught six passes for 124 yards and a touchdown in the Championship game.

Nathan LaDuke

After Willis left Arizona State, LaDuke stepped into his place to lead the secondary.

LaDuke became the Sun Devils' starter at free safety in 1988, and only continued to progress as his career went on. In 1988, LaDuke finished with three interceptions and was named an All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention.

The following season, LaDuke continued to be a ball hawk. He intercepted six passes, was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, and was named Arizona State's Most Valuable Defensive Player.

His stellar junior season paved the way for him to be named co-captain in 1990. That season LaDuke picked off four balls and was once again named a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award.

Perhaps the most note-worthy stat was that at one point in his senior season, 11 of his 14 career interceptions had come within the Arizona State 20-yard line. It's that kind of clutch effort that made LaDuke one of the best safeties in Arizona State history.

After his collegiate career was over, LaDuke was drafted in the 11th round of the NFL draft by the Phoenix Cardinals. LaDuke never made the Cardinals, but ended up playing in the Arena Football League with the Arizona Rattlers.

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