ASU Football: Marcus Ball and Salamo Fiso named as potential breakout players

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Both could make a big difference for the Sun Devils next season

The departure of Will Sutton and Carl Bradford means the Sun Devils will be looking for new players to step up and lead the defense.

Salamo Fiso and Marcus Ball could breakout and be those players according to this list by Steven Lassan of Athlon Sports.

Here's what Lassan had to say about Fiso:

Fiso was a standout freshman performer for Arizona State last season, recording 71 stops and three sacks in 14 games. Fiso only got better throughout the 2013 campaign and is one of just two returning starters for the Sun Devils in 2014. Fiso will anchor a linebacking corps that is talented, but inexperienced. The sophomore should be in the mix for all-conference honors and could lead the team in tackles after finishing third on the stat sheet last year.

Freshman DJ Calhoun also showed a lot of promise in the spring as an early enrollee but Lassan decided to tap redshirt freshman Ball as his other breakout star for the Sun Devils this fall:

Ball was expected to play a significant role in the Arizona State secondary last season, but a shoulder injury forced him to take a redshirt year. The Ohio native is poised to start in 2014, as the Sun Devils have a significant amount of turnover on defense this year. Ball has the necessary speed and athleticism to quickly blossom into one of the top freshman defensive backs in the Pac-12.

What Lassan doesn't mention is Ball's height at 6-foot-3, which is tall for a player that plays in the secondary. He will be one of the more interesting story lines to follow in camp this fall. Ball had a starting spot all but locked up until he lost the job because the afore mentioned shoulder injury at Camp Tontozona. He now has the distinct advantage of knowing the Sun Devils' defense, but at the Division I level, starting spots aren't just handed out.

Notably absent from the list was redshirt senior safety Damarious Randall. He was a newcomer last season after transferring from Mesa Community College where he was named a first team NJCAA All-American in 2012. Randall came on strong in the latter half of last season, seeing his first start in the Notre Dame game. He made the most of his chance with 17 tackles against the Fighting Irish and his first interception came against Colorado the following week. He had his most memorable performance against Arizona with 13 tackles, an interception return for a touchdown and a forced fumble.

There is a possible situation where neither Ball nor Randall will play safety next season, which you can read more about here.

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