clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

ASU Football: USC Players to Watch

New, comment

With ASU's first conference game nearing, we tell you which players the Sun Devils will have to contain in the hopes of a gaining momentum in the Pac-12 South race.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it's here.

The time of year when wins lift one team atop a pool of similar competition.

It's time for conference play.

Arizona State undoubtedly faces one of the toughest Pac-12 South foes in USC this weekend. Not to mention, the Trojans will most likely ride into this game with a Jaelen Strong- sized chip on their shoulder following their loss to Stanford.

But, while Strong is off to bigger and better things-yes, even bigger than his game-winning prayer catch against USC last season-ASU will need to conjure up its best aerial attack in facing its first Pac-12 opponent Saturday.

We'll tell you just which players the Sun Devils should watch out for in its game day preparations.

1. Su'a Cravens (Outside Linebacker)

The 2014 third-team AP All-American selection will be the biggest threat to ASU's offense as he is praised for his pass-rushing ability and protecting Bercovici is something ASU's younger tackles have struggled with so far this season. Cravens, a 2016 NFL Draft Prospect, led the USC defense last season in tackles for loss with 17 and sacks with five. This season, Cravens had registered 21 tackles with two tackles for loss and two sacks each totaling 17 yards along with one interception.

Here's a video, courtesy of USCAthletics, showing what ASU will try to prevent in Cravens' pass-rushing ability this time around... (0:19 mark)

2. Cody Kessler (Quarterback)

The redshirt senior threw for 3,826 yards and 39 touchdowns while completing nearly 70-percent of his passes in 2014, all which set school records. The redshirt senior is known for his long-ball, passing accuracy and mobility in the pocket. He threw for 300-plus yards on seven occasions last season.

This season, Kessler is the same arm to be reckoned with. Through three games he is 70-for-89 for 922 yards backed by a 78.7 percent completion rating while averaging 307.3 yards a game.

3. JuJu Smith-Schuster (Wide Receiver)

The sophomore wide receiver has totaled 434 receiving yards and four touchdowns through the first three games this season. That's 44 yards and one touchdown short of his production in the last seven games of the 2014 season.

In other words, Smith-Schuster is more than doubling his already award-winning production from his freshman campaign. The speedy wideout is averaging 19.7 yards per catch and 144.7 yards per game, with his longest a 61-yard catch for a touchdown.