If his Sun Bowl performance is any indication, ASU sophomore running back Demario Richard have a huge year in the backfield in 2015. He had 7 carries for 41 yards against Duke and caught another 5 passes for 22 yards and accumulated four touchdowns.
Richard went on to finish the season with 478 yards on 84 rushing attempts with 4 touchdowns and added another 13 receptions for 156 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air. Not too shabby for a 17-year-old freshman.
With D.J. Foster moving out to slot wide receiver and Kalen Ballage getting a hard look as a pass rusher on defense in the spring, Richard has a good chance to be the premier back for the Sun Devils in 2015. Steven Lassan of Athlon Sports had this to say about him in a recent piece titled "25 players ready to take college football by storm in 2015". Richard was listed at No. 22:
The future of the Arizona State backfield appears to be in good hands with Richard leading the way in 2015. The Sun Devils also return D.J. Foster (1,081 rush yards in 2014), but the senior is expected to shift to more of a running back/receiver role in 2015. Richard was solid in limited action last year, rushing for 478 yards and four scores on 84 attempts. He eclipsed the 100-yard mark against a tough Utah defense on Nov. 1 and contributed 41 yards on seven attempts in the bowl win over Duke. Richard should have no trouble exceeding last year's numbers in 2015.
Richard's potential is certainly there and his powerful running style with an ability to bowl people over led to some defensive backs not so sure footed as they tried to tackle him last season. It will depend on offensive balance, more so than the Sun Devils had with Mike Bercovici under center last season. Bercovici's arm is certainly strong, and should be utilized but ASU will want to try and use Richard as well. Richard will also need to be ready for a larger number of reps in his sophomore campaign. If used in the right capacity, Lassan's prediction could come true.