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ASU Football: Team prepares for Camp Tontozona

The Sun Devils practiced for the last time Tuesday morning before making the trek up to Payson

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona State football program will head back up to Camp Tontozona in Payson, Arizona for the third consecutive year on Tuesday afternoon. They will practice once per day, building up to a scrimmage that is open to the general public on Saturday morning.

"It's a very important time for us, we only practice once a day and because of that we spend a lot of time focusing on the mental aspect of it," head coach Todd Graham said.

The Sun Devils first made the pilgrimage under former head coach Frank Kush in 1960. The trip stopped between 2008-11, but Graham brought it back in 2012 after a $150,000 fundraising effort. Graham mentioned that it is about the work on the field, but placed more emphasis on the importance of the team becoming more, "mentally mature" and forming a brotherhood.

"It's more about the team and the team building and coming together as a team," Graham said. "Big team, little me is what we keep focusing on and that's easier said than done."

The week has many traditions which include a lack of technology, climbing, "Mount Kush" and swimming in nearby lakes and streams. Graham mentioned that a lot of time is spent with the newcomers helping them understand the importance of the Territorial Cup, but also gives him a chance to get to know the new players better.

"I think the thing I enjoy the most is just sitting around the camp fire and just getting to know the players, hearing their life story hearing them talk about their families. It's really neat," Graham said.


  • Kalen Ballage remains out with back issues and should remain out until after Camp Tontozona. Jaxon Hood was still not back with the team this morning.
  • Green no-contact: D.J. Foster, Marcus Ball, Sam Jones, Brendan Landman
  • First team defense: Linemen: Marcus Hardison-Demetrius Cherry-Tashon Smallwood  Linebackers: Salamo Fiso (SAM), Carlos Mendoza (WILL), Laiu Moeakiola (SPUR), Antonio Longino (DEVIL).  Corners: Solomon Means, Lloyd Carrington Safeties: Jordan Simone, Damarious Randall
  • First team offense: Wide receivers: Fredrick Gammage, Gary Chambers, Jaelen Strong Running back: Kyle Middlebrooks Tight end: De'Marieya Nelson
  • Second team defense: Linemen: Edmond Boateng-Connor Humphreys- Corey Smith. Linebackers: DJ Calhoun (WILL), Alani Latu (SAM), Christian Sam (SPUR), Marcus Washington (DEVIL). Corners: Kweishi Brown, Armand Perry Safeties: James Johnson, Chad Adams.
  • Second team offense: Running back: Demario Richard Wide receivers: Cameron Smith, Ellis Jefferson, Ronald Lewis. Tight end: Grant Martinez
  • Special teams worked on punt block today. D.J. Foster, Jaelen Strong, Marcus Washington and Dan Vear worked first team trying to break through the wall. Ronald Lewis, Deantre Lewis, Eric Lauderdale worked second team.
  • Graham joked that he's been making up stuff to scare the freshmen such as "don't forget your bear spray" and to remember their sleeping bags for their tents (the team stays in cabins with beds.)
  • Viliami Latu and Tashon Smallwood (second day in a row) stayed after to do up-downs. Have to give it to Smallwood, who stayed and addressed the media with a smile after a tough post practice workout.