The heat was on during the first day of fall camp for Arizona State. The symbolic first day of the season began early Wednesday morning, but it wouldn’t take long for temperatures to reach triple digits at the Kajikawa Practice Facility.
Helmets were strapped up on top of no shoulder pads and athletic shorts as the Sun Devils begin the a 29 day run up to the first game of the season, Sept. 2 against Southern Utah.
Most everyone was healthy and accounted for, except for transfer wide receiver Elijah Badger.
Scouts from the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets were present.
Jayden Daniels has spent the offseason bulking up, and could weigh 200 pounds by the beginning of the season. Through 7-on-7 drills, Daniels was poised, confident, everything that was reported about the junior quarterback during spring practice.
His downfield vision was something to take note of, it never wavered at looking down at oncoming pass rushers. Sure, Daniels knows he won’t get popped like he would in a live game, but even when flushed from the pocket, he was able to extend plays by rolling out.
He did not attempt many deep passes, but was accurate underneath, finding LV Bunkley-Shelton and Johnny Wilson on crossing routes and slants.
Finn Collins and Trenton Bourgeut split second-team reps behind Daniels, and Daylin McLemore sprinkled in reps with the third team. Collins’ ascension up the depth chart is not unexpected, as he entered the program ranked as the No. 18 pro-style quarterback nationally according to Rivals.
The main task for any Sun Devil quarterback this season will be to establish a rapport with a receiving core that is still relatively unproven after last season’s abbreviated schedule. Geordon Porter, who was Daniels’ roommate last year, is the most experienced, but still does not have the type of production typically associated with a wide receiver holding that title.
Cornerbacks and Safeties
In the battle for supremacy between the wide receivers and the secondary, give the day to the experience-laden defensive backs. Position coach Chris Hawkins has one of the Pac-12’s top units, and they frustrated the wide receivers and quarterbacks on Wednesday, routinely batting down passes and nearly picking a few off.
Head coach Herm Edwards said that was to be expected.
“Generally in football, when you start the first practice the defense is always ahead than the offense.” Edwards said. “Just in the timing of all of it.”
Under the direction of Robert Rodriguez in his second year with the team, the defensive line rolled through several different drills on Wednesday. Rodriguez was one of the most vocal coaches, finding a teaching moment in every step or move his players made.
Chip Trayanum will now go by DeaMonte Trayanum. So, DeaMonte Trayanum split reps with the first team with Rachaad White, as expected. Daniel Ngata also got involved on some first-team reps. When asked about whether he considered the running backs room a three-headed monster, White replied, “you could say that, for sure.”
With the inexperience on the perimeter, the running backs will be asked to do a lot in the early games of the season, and their performance today and attitude after practice indicated there will be no difficulties answering that call.
There were not many surprises as to who took first-team reps for the Sun Devils on Wednesday. Here are how things broke down.
QB: Jayden Daniels
RB: DeaMonte Trayanum, Rachaad White, Daniel Ngata
OL: Kellen Diesch (LT), LaDarius Henderson (LG), Dohnovan West (C), Henry Hattis (RG) and Ben Scott (RT)
WR: Johnny Wilson
WR: Ricky Pearsall
WR: Andre Johnson
TE: Curtis Hodges
DE: Tyler Johnson
DT: DJ Davidson
DT: Jermayne Lole
DE: Michale Matus
LB: Merlin Robertson
LB: Darien Butler
CB: Jack Jones
CB: Chase Lucas
CB: Timarcus Davis
S: DeAndre Pierce
S: Evan Fields
The Sun Devils will return to the practice field tomorrow at 9 a.m.