Tuesday was an emotional day for redshirt freshman cornerback Chase Lucas.
From the elation of being named a Freshman All-American by USA TODAY to the sadness of defensive coordinator Phil Bennett telling the team he won’t be back in 2018, Lucas faced the ups and downs of college football within just a few hours of each other.
Lucas took over a starting job at corner when redshirt junior Joey Bryant tore his ACL and took off. In 11 games, Lucas recorded 53 tackles and led the Sun Devils with two interceptions and seven passes broken up.
“Coming into the season, I wasn’t expecting much,” Lucas said. “I’m really honored. I really am blessed to have got that award.”
Lucas credited Bennett’s belief in him as an important piece of his development that allowed him to be where he is today as a player.
“He believed in me when nobody else did,” Lucas said. “He gave me the opportunity to be a great player, to put that thing in my mind to where I can achieve greatness at this position.”
But with the change in coaching staff following the firing of Todd Graham, Bennett decided it was best for him to leave the Sun Devils following the season, a move which he informed his players of Tuesday.
“He just told us this morning, and I just sat back and started shaking my head,” Lucas said. “He saw me and knew exactly what was going through my mind.”
Lucas and Bennett spoke on the practice field some Tuesday and the corner noted that just because Bennett won’t be with the program any longer doesn’t mean they’ll stop talking.
“The relationship’s not over between me and him,” Lucas said. “We’re going to talk, I’m going to call him damn near every day. I love that man to death and I want to thank him, really, for what he’s done for this program, especially what he’s done for me.”
Speaking to Bennett through the camera, Lucas gushed about his now former DC.
“Hey, man. I love you, man,” Lucas said. “Thank you so much. Really. You brought me a long way and the things that I’ve achieved, I never would have been able to without you. You’re a blessing to me.”
In the end, there’s only one way for Lucas to move: forward.
“It’s a journey and I’ve just got to keep getting better,” Lucas said. “Because I’m coming for that All-American next year.”