All Jaelen Strong, a redshirt junior, did last year was account for 75 receptions for 1,122 yards and seven touchdowns on his way to second-team all Pac-12 honors. But now another four-star receiver is grabbing some of the spotlight.
Eric Lauderdale, a four-star prospect out of Saddleback College, has had a couple of days now in Arizona State's offense. He said the biggest thing he has been forced to adjust to is the same thing Strong initially struggled with - the speed.
"It's a little faster than junior college," Lauderdale said. "Everybody is about the same size...but the speed is much faster. I need to adjust to that."
Lauderdale has been running with the first team newcomers along with freshmen Tyler Whiley and Jalen Harvey.
The newcomers will join the veterans Sunday and will don pads for the first time. This is where offensive coordinator Mike Norvell thinks the Sun Devils' bevy of offensive talent will have the chance to sort itself out.
"The cream rises to the top," Norvell said. "It's going to be about production, it's about guys that go out and make plays...you've got to have guys that can come out and make plays and you've got to be deep at those positions. I think that's going to allow us to play faster and be able to do more things and I'm excited about the depth."
Real work starts tomorrow
In the newcomers' second day of practice, defensive coordinator Keith Patterson had some high praise for his newest players. Patterson called the group "probably the best group we've ever had in terms of picking things up."
But the praise did come with a caveat.
"We haven't put a pad on yet either. We'll see tomorrow who can handle and hold up once we start with the pads," he said. "They're very talented, they pick things up quickly but now tomorrow is a whole different deal. The bullets start flying and we'll see how they react under adversity... Right now there are still a lot of question marks."