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"Sun Devil Legends Series" No. 74 Juan Roque

When it comes to offensive line play, few Sun Devils have ever matched the success that Juan Roque found during his three years at left tackle.

No. 74 was an easy call for the House of Sparky staff.
No. 74 was an easy call for the House of Sparky staff.
ASU Athletics

The Backstory: At No. 75, we had a chance to profile a rarity among Sun Devil players: a four-year starter. Victor Leyva was a consistent force on the offensive line, and Arizona State was pleased to have a lineman of his caliber.

However, a four-year starter is not a benchmark that all great linemen must meet. In fact, some of the best offensive linemen didn't have the opportunity to compete on the same side of the football for four seasons.

That's the case with today's "Sun Devil Legend," as he was rediscovered as an offensive talent after his freshman season. Fortunately, the move paid dividends for Coach Bruce Snyder and Arizona State who realized that Juan Roque's true calling as a football player came at offensive tackle.

The Player: Juan Roque (1992-1996)

When it comes to picking the greatest players in Arizona State history, Sun Devil fans are more likely to gravitate toward skill position players. Players like Woody Green, David Fulcher, and Zach Miller are considered some of the best to wear the maroon and gold, and their talents can be quantified in numbers.

Even defensive ends like Al Harris and Terrell Suggs come to mind, because of their prolific sack totals. However, when making the case for the all-time greats, Juan Roque deserves to have his name on the list.

Roque is unquestionably one of the top three offensive linemen in Arizona State history, but amazingly, he didn't come to the university to play offense.

The Ontario, California native was a highly sought after recruit, and he initially committed to play football at the University of Southern California. Instead, Roque had second thoughts and joined Bruce Snyder's program at Arizona State.

As a freshman, Roque competed as a defensive lineman, but he made the switch to the offensive side of the ball in the offseason prior to his sophomore year. Roque started in 1994 and became acquainted with his position at left tackle, but he knew his best days were ahead of him.

In 1995, Roque protected a young gunslinger named Jake Plummer and was enough of a force on the offensive line to earn First Team All-Pac-10 honors. Fortunately, Roque still had more to offer.

The following season took on a storybook form for the Sun Devils and Roque played an integral role. In 1996, Roque paved the way to an 11-1 record and a Rose Bowl appearance as he led the way for one of Arizona State's greatest teams ever.

After a successful season, Roque was recognized as a Consensus All-American and a First Team All-Pac-10 performer. Amazingly, that would not be the end of his honors as in 2009, Roque was inducted into the Arizona State University Sports Hall of Fame.

Roque's career is as impressive as they come, and for linemen, he is one of the few players in Sun Devil history who have set the benchmark for what every current lineman aspires to accomplish.

In the Pros: After his days in Tempe, Roque was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 1997 NFL Draft. Sadly, Roque suffered a devastating knee injury that lingered throughout the remainder of his career.

In 2001, Roque attempted a comeback with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League and played defensive line, but he was released after participating in seven CFL games.

Honorable Mentions

Bob Rokita: Because it's so rare to see a kicker don No. 74, we had to list Rokita. Plus, he tied for the team lead in scoring in 1966 as his four field goals and 18 extra points gave him 30 points on the season.

Tom Magazzeni: Though he only started one season at Arizona State, Magazzeni made the most of it as he was named Second Team All-Pac-10 in 1984.

Who Wears It Now?

Jamil Douglas: A redshirt junior out of Cypress, California, Douglas figures to play an important role on the offensive line this season. The 6-foot-4 lineman can play both guard and tackle, but he will likely start at right tackle.