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ASU Football Positional Preview: D-Line and Safeties

How the Sun Devils fit into new defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales’ 3-3-5 scheme.

NCAA Football: Arizona State Spring Game Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With the college football season rapidly approaching, we at House of Sparky are bringing our preview of the Sun Devils’ depth chart.

The defense in Todd Graham’s final season in Tempe improved over the previous two seasons, but it was still susceptible to allowing the big plays.

New defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales will be employing a new 3-3-5 defensive scheme that will be very aggressive.

Unfortunately for the upcoming season, the Sun Devils might not have the athletes necessary to have success in year one. This new formation will rely on an extra defensive back, and will show the importance of the TILLMAN position.

Let’s start with the defensive line:

Gone are JoJo Wicker, Tashon Smallwood and Alani Latu. This leaves three big holes in a defensive front that did a pretty good job of stopping the run a season ago.

Redshirt senior Renell Wren will takeover the nose tackle position. Wren has always been highly thought of in the program but has struggled on the field to put it all together. As the most experienced player in the defensive front, he will be vital for the Sun Devils’ run defense.

The Sun Devils expect to utilize a couple of Louisiana natives on the defensive end positions, sophomore Shannon Forman and redshirt junior Jalen Bates. Both have received limited playing time during their ASU careers, and will need to make an early impact to keep their starting positions.

Behind them in the depth chart include transfer redshirt junior Darius Slade, redshirt junior George Lea, redshirt senior Jordan Hoyt and redshirt senior Dougladson Subtyl.

Defensive backs:

The TILLMAN position that’s been added to the new defense is similar to $ linebacker position that Deone Buchannon played for the Arizona Cardinals in James Bettcher’s defense.

It requires a broad skill set, the player must be able to be strong enough to make plays against offensive linemen and in the backfield. As well as be quick and agile enough to cover fast wide receivers.

In steps Evan Fields.

Fields is a sophomore who spent most of his freshman season injured, but impressed during spring practice. Redshirt senior Dasmond Tautalatasi is also expected to get reps at the TILLMAN position once he returns from injuries.

This will probably be a fluid position, and one that head coach Herm Edwards and Gonzales will recruit athletes to specifically play.

The safety position is not as certain as the season approaches. Redshirt senior Jalen Harvey moved from tight end to safety in the spring and showed a knack for the position. If his play in practice transitions well to games remains to be seen.

Senior Demonte King will likely get the other starting assignment at safety. Next up on the depth chart is sophomore Langston Frederick who can play both safety and cornerback.

The rest of the defensive backs depth chart includes: junior Dominique Harrison, redshirt junior Cody French, junior Darien Cornay, sophomore Ty Thomas and redshirt junior Jalen Russell.