As The Bangles said, it’s just another Mailbag Monday.
This week we’re hitting the bright lights of the Arizona State Spring Game, analyzing the transfers of basketball cornerstones Taya Hanson and Jalen Graham, and hitting the mat with way-too-early expectations for the wrestling team.
Some questions were edited for clarity or brevity, and every user has a two-question cap.
Alright, let’s go!
Transfer Portal, Taya Hanson to Oregon (booo!) and Jalen Graham to Arkansas. - rwperu34
WEIPZ: Yes, two of the most-tenured ASU hoops players have found new homes. On the women’s side, Hanson is actually one of three Sun Devils that have entered the portal and found a new home. Graduate guard Ayzhiana Basallo has already committed to Santa Clara after spending one year with the Sun Devils. Sophomore forward Katelyn Levings has also moved closer to home after committing to play at Tulsa next year.
Natasha Adair should be announcing her staff in the near future, so stay tuned as she starts to bring in more pieces.
The next wave of transfers is coming. Who is ASU football targeting and what do you think their odds are of landing a commitment? - DevilForce1
REDFERN: In his brief session after the Spring Showcase, Herm Edwards hinted that there are still 7-8 scholarships left to hand out, shortly after talking about the cornerbacks and the defensive back room. Take that as you wish.
On top of defensive backs, I really think that they will target another potential starting offensive lineman. Saguaro product Jaylan Jeffers, a three-star former Oregon tackle, just entered the transfer portal, and would provide fantastic depth at tackle. That unit is probably 1-2 pieces away from completing itself. His roots should immediately make him attainable.
As for a quarterback, a lot of the second-tier transfers are still in the portal. I’m keeping my eye on Justin Rogers from UNLV, who would’ve had some sort of relationship with offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas. Rogers, a 6-foot-4 inch 210 pound slinger, is a former TCU and UNLV quarterback who was the highest rated recruit in TCU history. Now as a four-star transfer, he could compete for the starting job immediately.
RB Tevin White Wasn’t mentioned as an injury in the Spring Practice finale write-up, but had to be helped off the field with a leg injury. What’s the diagnosis? - ArizonaSon
KR: White limped off the field on the last drive and sat out the rest of the scrimmage, but was seen happily engaging with fans during the post-practice autograph session. His spirits looked fine, and I assume it is minor.
Who was the most outstanding player during spring? I know everyone has limited viewing. - Zoon P.
KR: This is obviously a crapshoot, as we barely saw any live tackling sessions, but man, Tautala Pesefea Jr. has been all over the place. There is a lot of hype around Miami transfer Nesta Jade Silvera, who has missed some time due to injury, but Pesefea creates disruption when practice speed is the highest. As you can tell, I think this is the strongest unit on the field when everybody is healthy.
I’m sure if you were to ask this question to every reporter at practice, they would all have different answers. A week ago I might’ve had a different response. Do not be surprised if Xazavian Valladay or Daniyel Ngata reach Rachaad White-level success.
From what you’ve seen in spring so far, which of the QBs has the body language that indicates confidence and leadership? - Troll S.
KR: This should not come as a surprise, but Trenton Bourguet definitely looks the most comfortable on the field, specifically in the pocket. The semantics behind comfortability/confidence/leadership all blend together, and I believe Bourguet is the best representation of that.
I thought that during the scrimmage, and while under attack from the defensive line, he had the greatest sense of that pressure, and reacted accordingly. Whether it was stepping up in the pocket, escaping the pocket or finding check downs, Bourguet kept his cool.
Paul Tyson did not look bad, by any means, but he did look a little “jumpier” when the pocket collapsed. We saw impressive arm work from both of them, but neither really separated themselves. Most, however, are in agreement that we need to look out for Daylin McLemore.
I saw a ‘way too early’ preseason ranking for next year’s ASU wrestling being at No. 2. Now obviously with recruiting and transfers still coming/changing things it is way too early, but why on earth do they believe ASU is going to be that good? Or is it more the other schools are losing too much, bumping ASU up? - ArizonaSon
JOHNSON: That No. 2 ranking is on the rosier end of the predictions game for Arizona State. The odds of them finishing that high are around 10 percent. Like you alluded to, several powerful schools are losing some of their best weapons, but others, like Penn State, will be as solid as ever.
The Nittany Lions are the defending national champs, and will return all of their starters. Iowa should be the next in line because of their strong recruiting classes. The Hawkeyes have a few returners that make up the bedrock of their championship worthy team, and it starts with Jacob Warner, who finished second in the NCAAs. Behind Warner, look out for incoming transfer Real Woods, who was an All-American at Stanford.
Arizona State is filled with elite talent, but I don’t know if the top line talent can compete with what Penn State and Iowa have. Everyone is coming back for the Sun Devils with the exception of Anthony Valencia. Cael Valencia, the younger Valencia brother, should fill those shoes and compete well enough to get All-American considerations. Also keep in mind that Jesse Vasquez will return from a torn ACL. If he can perform at full strength, the Sun Devils will have another top 15 guy.
One last thing to keep your eye on, Arizona State is in contention for Kennedy Monday. His path is a winding road from college wrestling at North Carolina, to a foray with MMA, and now an expected return back to NCAA wrestling again.
The Sun Devils are on Monday’s short list. If he goes Maroon and Gold the ceiling becomes much higher for the Sun Devils.