Todd Graham's first year as the head coach of the Arizona State football team was nothing short of inspiring. He managed to bring in a strong class of recruits, both as freshmen coming out of high school and as junior college transfers. Perhaps none of those recruits was more important to the team's success than JUCO transfer, Marion Grice.
Grice came into the fold as a 4-star recruit from Blinn College for the Sun Devils. The team suddenly found themselves very deep at the running back position with senior Cameron Marshall, who already had a niche carved out with the team, and freshman runner D.J. Foster committing to the team. Deantre Lewis also figured to see some playing time after recovering from his injury the prior season.
Still, Grice found a way to get on the field and become the team's most productive running back in 2012. Overall, he rushed for 679 yards and 11 touchdowns, both team highs. His average per carry was an astounding 6.6 yards, which was also the best among all Sun Devil backs.
He only got better as the season progressed. His final two games were easily his best, coming against the hated rival Arizona Wildcats and their bowl game opponent, the Navy Midshipmen. In those two games, he rushed for a combined 315 yards and five touchdowns. And it was in those two games that he separated himself from the rest of the field to win the award of the Sun Devils' top newcomer.
Also receiving consideration were freshman defensive tackle Jaxon Hood, freshman running back D.J. Foster and junior college transfer, Chris Young, who was a machine in the tackles for loss category from the SPUR position.
Up next in our series of awards for the ASU football team is 'Best New Trend', coming at you tomorrow.