It's time for bye week roundtable number two. And just like last week, we'll pose our staff with one question. Name one player that has stuck out to you in one way or another, whether it be positively or negatively.
Justin Emerson: Managing Editor (@J15Emerson)
Nick Krueger: Managing Editor (@NickPKrueger)
Jason Galvin: Columnist (@Jason_Galvin)
Shane Theodore: Staff writer (@shane_writes)
Connor Pelton: Staff writer (ConnorPelton28)
Emerson: It has to be Jordan Simone. The redshirt junior safety has done nothing but produced since he walked on and was granted a scholarship. He had quietly good games against Weber State and New Mexico, then exploded against Colorado, leading the game in tackles, solo tackles, tackles-for-loss, interceptions and fumbles forced. He was a force, and I'm excited to see what he'll do against better competition. It's clear Todd Graham and the rest of the coaching staff is going to lean on him, and they may need him come Thursday against UCLA.
Krueger: My surprisingly good player so far is Armand Perry. He's tied for fourth on the team with 16 tackles and has half a tackle-for-loss and half a sack so far. He also got his hand on a punt against Weber State. Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas is a phenomenal high school program, but before the season I expected him and most of the other really young talent at corner like Chad Adams and DeAndre Scott to redshirt. Perry started against New Mexico and Colorado and had eight tackles against the Buffaloes. ESPN ranked him as the No. 116 safety prospect in the country coming into the season so I wasn't exactly expecting a lot out of him to begin with this season. He battled the starting spot away from Solomon Means in fall camp and if the 6-foot-0, 190-pounder can keep this kind of production up as a freshman, I think the Sun Devils might have found themselves a diamond in the rough.
Galvin: I'm going to single out Jaxon Hood here. Once hailed as the heir apparent to Will Sutton, Hood instead has never rediscovered his form from his freshman season. Instead of leaning out a little and moving to defensive end, where he could potentially be destructive as a pass rusher and edge setter in the mold of Sutton, Hood instead remains a little too heavy for his build and stuck at nose tackle, where he's made exactly zero impact plays thus far. Hood is the one player on the line who was thought to really be able to take over games, but more and more it's starting to look like Hood may be what he was described as in almost every recruiting profile: someone with a poor physical profile but a tough kid who will always hustle. That goes a long way in the locker room and with the coaching staff, but it won't help the Sun Devils win many games, not when they were relying on Hood to be the best player on the line. Bottom line is that scouts predicted Hood would have problems adding bulk because of his frame, and it appears that is catching up to him now. Maybe it's time to shed the size for the explosiveness he displayed two years ago, but it's probably too late for that to matter this season.
Theodore: I'm going to go with Edmond Boateng as a guy who was expected to come in to Tempe and immediately contribute but rather hasn't seen the field much at all for Arizona State. He's listed as a starter at Devilbacker but Antonio Longino has made sure that Boateng's snaps are limited. Boateng came to Tempe with enormous expectation, as the JUCO transfer arrived on campus early enough for spring practice and was penciled in at Devilbacker. But he's struggled to acclimate to the speed of elite collegiate competition, and we haven't seen much of Boateng through the first three weeks. I expect he'll continue to earn more playing time as the year rolls on but with a very capable Longino at Devilbacker, Boateng's going to have to really work to meet the expectations he came to town with.
Pelton: I've been really surprised by the play of Jordan Simone. He led the team in tackles at Colorado and had a great interception. There was also an interception against the Buffaloes, and a forced fumble at New Mexico. He flew under my radar while previewing the team in the summer, although most of the defense did. His production has steadily increased from game to game. He had three tackles against Weber State, seven against the Lobos, and 13 last week in Boulder. Considering he was just a walk-on until late August, I think his performance has been a great and much-needed boost. We will see what happens as the schedule toughens up over the next month.