The Arizona State defense has a big hole to fill.
The Sun Devils must replace their heart and soul, Brandon Magee. The Corona, California, product had 113 tackles and 6.5 sacks last season for the ASU defense, and was the face of Todd Graham's new and improved Sun Devils.
Lucky for Arizona State, linebacker is one of their deepest positions in 2013. Steffon Martin, Anthony Jones, Carl Bradford, and Carlos Mendoza all return from last year's squad, and one player that is taking on a bigger role in 2013 is Chris Young. The senior will now take on a more vocal role in the defense with the loss of Magee.
"Brandon Magee was a big asset to the team," Young said. "Leaders just have to step up and make plays. (I) definitely have some big shoes to fill."
In his first season in Tempe, Young racked up 82 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and 14 tackles for loss, playing from the spur linebacker position.
Before dawning the Maroon and Gold, Young played at Arizona Western Community College, alongside Steffon Martin and tight end Darwin Rodgers. Young was a junior college All-American, tallying 30 tackles-for-loss, 8.5 sacks five fumble recoveries and scored six defensive touchdowns his sophomore season.
Even though Young has been at Arizona State for less than a year, his game has grown tremendously.
"I feel like my intelligence for the game has been a key to my success," said Young. "I think that evolved a lot and I expect a lot of big things this year."
Young was one of four defenders this spring that wore the camouflage 42 jersey in remembrance of Pat Tillman. The linebacker was pleased with the progress of the defense this spring.
"(Spring practice) has been a big improvement," said Young. "This spring I felt that as a whole our defense really got a lot done. We made a lot of adjustments and we adapted."
As the Sun Devils close spring practice, summer workouts are on the horizon. Young knows the defense has a chance to improve from an already impressive spring.
"Togetherness," Young said when asked what the defense needs to improve on. "That is one of the main things that is going to help us get far this season."