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ASU Football: A week of roster moves leading up to May 1st portal deadline

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Like pieces of a puzzle

Zac BonDurant

College football free agency is a real thing.

When deadlines are on the horizon, pieces move. May 1st is the deadline for fall and winter sport athletes to request permission from their current university to enter the portal not lose out on a year of eligibility, if they so desire.

Ricky Pearsall and Eric Gentry were the latest to abandon ship (Herm train? Is that still a thing?), but Herm Edwards, as promised, is attacking the transfer portal in response. At the same time, the 2023 recruiting class now has something on which to build.

Under Center

Say it with me, the quarterback storylines are not going away anytime soon.

Things took an undesired, but seemingly inconsequential, turn after the Spring Showcase when WCSN reported that quarterback Trenton Bourguet had foot surgery to repair a minor fracture that reappeared this spring after playing through the injury in 2021. He is expected to be back for summer ball.

Outside of the locker room, former Florida starting quarterback Emory Jones made an official visit to Tempe last week. Jones has been linked to ASU since announcing his transfer intentions when a slew of Sun Devil coaches reached out on social media. He has two more years of eligibility, and threw 19 touchdowns to 13 interceptions (64.7% on completions) in 12 starts last season for the Gators.

Jones also classifies as a dual-threat quarterback, averaging over five yards per carry. He appears to have been in Tempe over the weekend. ASU is the first of his visits, so do not expect a commitment anytime soon.

Looking forward, the Sun Devils landed their first 2023 verbal commit in three-star Coronado QB Israel Carter. Carter is the 47th ranked slinger nationally, according to 247Sports. ASU beat out BYU, Akron, Colorado and Kansas. At 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, his three-star recruiting profile does not differ too far from future teammate Finn Collins, who was the 52nd ranked QB in the nation in the class of 2021.

Portal finds

When Edwards spoke about potential transfers after the Spring Showcase, he did so in the same breath of mentioning the defensive back room. Sure enough, Edwards and Donnie Henderson continued their run on seasoned DB prospects in the portal (Edmonds, Bethley and more).

This time, they landed former NJCAA (juco) Defensive Player of the Year in Ro Torrence. At 6-foot-4 inches and nearly 200 pounds, Torrence provides invaluable length at a position that has higher physical expectations every year. After his breakout year at the juco level, Torrence filled in as extra depth at Auburn, playing ten games and forcing a fumble.

Torrence has two more years of eligibility, and should compete for snaps immediately. Timarcus Davis, Keon Markham, Ed Woods, Jean Boyd, Macen Williams and Isaiah Johnson will all join Torrence in the fight for reps. That depth may be the strongest on the team.

To round out the week, Edwards also added a homegrown product to bolster the o-line’s edges. Former Deer Valley and Iowa State tackle Joey Ramos announced his intentions to transfer back to his hometown and play for ASU. Ramos, a three-star recruit out of high school, was the seventh-ranked prospect in Arizona in 2018.

Ramos never solidified himself as a season-long starter, but he did start five games at right tackle in 2020 on a largely successful Cyclone line unit. As of the spring, Penn State transfer Des Holmes has been taking most of the reps at right tackle, with Emmit Bohle and Isaia Glass splitting reps at left tackle.

After Pearsall and Gentry’s departures, it is safe to assume the Sun Devils still have 5+ scholarships to dole out through the portal or internally before August.