When ASU makes the trek to Houston for Saturday's season opener at NRG Stadium, the Texas A&M squad they'll take on won't resemble many of the unranked opponents the Sun Devils have opened their campaigns against in previous seasons.
The Aggies' first season post-Johnny Football didn't go quite as swimmingly as Kevin Sumlin hoped, as quarterback Kenny Hill's hot start soon fizzled out en route to an 8-5 season culminating in Hill's eventual transfer out of College Station.
Texas A&M finished the season on a high note thanks to a victory over West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl but Sumlin and the Aggies have much higher aspirations for this season.
Texas A&M brought in a top tier recruiting class for the third year in a row, with multiple game-changing threats on both sides of the ball. Which Aggies could be game-breakers against the Sun Devils?
QB Kyle Allen - Kenny Hill was a star for the first half of the 2014 college football season, and for a brief period of time "Kenny Trill" was even involved in early Heisman discussions. But Hill's performance drastically dropped off once the brunt of conference play hit, and soon he found his job taken by true freshman Kyle Allen, who was ranked as the top quarterback in the country coming out of high school in 2014. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native struggled in his first action but adjusted quickly and ended the season with a strong performance in the bowl win over West Virginia.
Allen may have a pedigree that would make him a shoo-in for the starting job this season, but Kyler Murray came into camp and gave Allen a run for his money. However, a focused Allen who packed on 25 pounds of much-needed weight in the offseason earned Sumlin's faith for the season opener, and with the weapons the Aggies have on the outside, the Texas A&M offense under Allen's command is electric.
WR Speedy Noil - Name aside, Noil is a jack of all trades for the Aggies in much part due to his speed. He led Texas A&M last season with 1,418 all-purpose yards, excelling from both the wide receiver position as well as serving as the team's punt and kickoff returner. His efforts in what was his true freshman season after coming to College Station as a five star recruit earned him All-Freshman SEC honors.
Noil's production in 2014 dipped after Allen took over the starting position from Hill, but having the full offseason to work with the highly-touted Allen will prove vital to their chemistry come gameday, but the dynamic Noil's versatility will ensure that the Aggies will give him ample opportunities to impact the game.
DE Myles Garrett - Remember when Jadeveon Clowney was the best college football player in the land, destroying SEC offensive lines with ease seemingly every week? Yeah, that guy was good. Well, when Garrett recorded 3.5 sacks against Louisana-Monroe in November, he surpassed Clowney's SEC freshman record for sacks with three regular season games left.
Totaling 11.5 takedowns of the quarterback in 2014, Garrett stepped onto the national scene in a big way, asserting himself as next in line of great SEC pass-rushers, following the leads of Clowney, Michael Sam and Shane Ray before him.
At 6'5", 255 pounds, Garrett has enough size to rush from the inside against weak interior lines as well as owning the speed and technique necessary to rush from the outside. Garrett led the Aggies in 2014 with 14 tackles for loss and is one of the few game-wreckers on the defensive side of the ball that the Sun Devils will face this season.