True-freshman Jayden Daniels took the field in Tempe on Thursday night for what hopes to be a long and successful career. In his anticipated debut, he threw 15-for-24 for 284 yards. His first college career touchdown came with a pass to running back Eno Benjamin for eight yards, putting the score at 10-0 in the first quarter. The Sun Devils found a 30-7 victory against the Kent State Golden Flashes.
It was the first time a true freshman opened the season for the Sun Devils. There were 25 total freshman on the Sun Devils roster Thursday night, 14 true-freshman and 11 redshirt freshman.
Daniels was quick on his feet allowing him to run the ball multiple times throughout the game. At the beginning of the second half, Daniels rushed for one yard scoring his first touchdown and putting the Sun Devils up 17-0.
“It was a special moment for me to get out there and get my first college win,” Daniels said. “There’s a lot that we have to improve on. I can’t be too content with the win. There’s a lot we have to work on, myself and the whole offense.”
Daniels wasn’t the only successful true freshman out on the field. Freshman quarterback Ethan Long came onto the field for three plays in the Sparky package and rushed for a total of 21 yards, including a third down run to setup the first touchdown.
“Captain America?” head coach Herm Edwards said about Long. “He’s just a good football player. We got a little package for him. He can do a lot of things. He can still play quarterback. He’s a good runner. He’s an energy guy. He has that presence when he walks in the huddle. He’s a good guy to have on the football team.”
Unexpectedly, true freshman center Dohnovan West got thrown into the fire. Before the game, Sun Devil Source reported that starting center Cade Cote suffered a broken foot on Sunday. West, a Mission Hills, California native — ranked as the number nine offensive prospect in the country by 24/7 Sports — filled in nicely for Cote.
Meanwhile, Cote, the redshirt junior, slated to get his first college career start on Thursday night is expected to be out for at least a month.
West is just another piece of the shuffling offensive line puzzle. With senior Cohl Cabral already repositioned from center to left tackle, replacing Zach Robertson who is out for personal reasons. Pair that with the right guard position being a battle between fellow redshirt freshman Jarrett Bell and Roy Hemsley.
Redshirt freshman running back A.J. Carter and true freshman Ricky Pearsall each reeled in a catch. Defensive back Willie Harts broke up a pass on fourth down. Six different freshman also recorded a tackle.
“I thought they (freshmen) did well,” Edwards said. “Every time I looked out there, defensively, and sometimes offensively, I said there’s a lot of freshman out there. I don’t know how many of them played. I lost count, after 10 I stopped counting. That’s what it’s going to look like. But, the more they play the more they continue to gain confidence.”