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Milestone Monday: Marion Grice

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Is the Sun Devils' feature back poised to become their next 1,000-yard rusher? Our writers debate.

Will Marin Grice become the next 1,000-yard back at ASU?
Will Marin Grice become the next 1,000-yard back at ASU?
Ezra Shaw

Cody Ulm: How's this for a shocking stat: Arizona State has only had two 1,000-yard rushers since 2002. That tidbit is brought to you by my partner in crime, Kerry Crowley, and it's the very reason he wanted to set the milestone bar at 1,000 yards. But what we have in 2013 is a rarity for Sun Devil nation: an explosive back in an offense tailor-made for explosive plays.

As second fiddle in ASU's three-headed rushing attack behind Cameron Marshall, Marion Grice managed to total 679 rushing yards on only 103 totes last season. At that pace, Grice would have only needed 79 more carries to break the 1,200 yard barrier. Obviously 6.6 yards a carry is a bit unsustainable at a higher volume but I don't think it's out of the question to see a player with Grice's traits to average a little over five yards an attempt.

Even with a playmaker like DJ Foster syphoning some carries, there should be plenty to go around since Marshall left a team-high 135 attempts on the table. With Grice certainly to see less time as a wide receiver as well, I'm thinking 230 carries seems like a reasonable mark. As long as he shows the same burst he did in 2012, that should be plenty of opportunities to crack 1,200 rushing yards.

Ben Haber: Marion Grice may be the best player on the ASU roster. Yeah, I just said that, over Will Sutton, Taylor Kelly and Carl Bradford. Don't believe me, just ask the U of A defense. Rushing for over 1,200 yards won't be easy, but I expect Grice to do it. Grice will end up being one of the most underrated pro prospects. At the running back position, Grice's ability in the receiving game, uncanny cutting and explosiveness and big frame at 6'0" makes him one of the nation's most feared weapons.

In the 2012 campaign, Grice worked behind Cameron Marshall, therefore he saw less opportunities than he deserved. Of Marshall's 135 attempts, it's safe to assume Grice accumulates at least 80 of those handoffs. Grice posted 103 carries last season, and the number should increase to 200-plus. In 103 attempts, Grice tallied 679 yards and 6.6 yards per attempts. Do the math, 679 times two will be over 1,200 every time.

Ryan Bafaloukos: In order for Grice to reach 1,200 yards he has to average 100 yards a game for the regular season. While it is a very reachable goal for Grice, who came on as ASU's featured back towards the end of the season, consider this: Last season, Grice only had three 100-yard rushing games, the season opener against NAU and in the final two games of the season when he torched Arizona for 156 yards and Navy for 159 yards.

In my opinion, the Todd Graham/Mike Norvell offense is not set up to have one player carry the load and rack up the stats. At the end of the season, we could be saying Grice is the best player on the ASU offense and maybe even the team. However, I do not think that he breaks 1,200 yards. I think that D.J. Foster and Deantre Lewis will take away some numbers from him and he will finish the year with around 900-1,000.

Kerry Crowley: After watching Marion Grice this spring, I have the utmost confidence that he will be the Sun Devils' best running back since Ryan Torain. Grice possesses a dynamic element when he runs the ball as he combines power and speed in an awe-inspiring way. There's no doubt in my mind that Grice will be a workhorse this season, but I don't see him topping the 1,200-yard mark.

I agree with Ryan that the Sun Devils' offense isn't geared toward a 1,200-yard do-everything rusher. Mike Norvell has weapons to work with, and Grice is one of many tools in his toolbox (albeit an extraordinarily powerful one). If the Sun Devils are successful in their goals of winning the Pac-12 South or even the Rose Bowl, I think Grice will have about 1,000 yards, D.J. Foster should have roughly 700, and Deantre Lewis will sneak in with about 400-500 yards.

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