Here are 10 Arizona State football players whose performance in 2017 will go a long way toward determining if the Sun Devils will have their first winning season since 2014.
1 of 21
Jay Dieffenbach and Doug Haller discuss: Will it be newcomer Blake Barnett, or will Manny Wilkins hold on to the job? Video: azcentral sports
2 of 21
azcentral sports’ Jeff Metcalfe takes a look at some pressing issues for the Sun Devils heading into 2017.
3 of 21
Jeff Metcalfe takes a closer look at some of the top issues surrounding the Sun Devils football team. Video: azcentral sports
4 of 21
The college football season doesn’t start until the fall but it’s never too early to start looking ahead.
USA TODAY Sports
5 of 21
Wide receivers, including John Humphrey and Ryan Newsome, were the headliners Saturday at the Arizona State football spring game.
Credit: Jeff Metcalfe, David Kadlubowski/Arizona Republic
6 of 21
Offensive highlights from ASU’s spring game on Saturday.
7 of 21
Hyperlapse of ASU’s spring football game.
8 of 21
Here’s what you need to know before you head to ASU’s Spring Game and Fan Fest on Saturday.
9 of 21
Arizona State head football coach Todd Graham talks about his team’s second spring scrimmage on Friday, April 7. Video: Jeff Metcafle/azcentral sports
10 of 21
ASU football coach Todd Graham talks about Demario Richard, Christian Hill and more after spring practice on Wednesday, April 5.
Credit: Jeff Metcalfe, Nick Oza/Arizona Republic
11 of 21
ASU defensive line coach Michael Slater gives instructions to his players at Monday’s workout in Tempe. Video: azcentral sports
12 of 21
Coach Todd Graham says defense came out ahead by limiting big plays during ASU’s first spring scrimmage on Wednesday. Jeff Metcalfe/azcentral sports
13 of 21
Arizona State football completed its sixth spring practice Friday at Sun Devil Stadium with nine practices remaining over the next three weeks. The spring game is April 15.
14 of 21
ASU football coach Todd Graham discusses hiring Danny White and Dave Christensen as consultants. Jeff Metcalfe/azcentral sports
15 of 21
Quarterback Blake Barnett, a transfer from Alabama, is in his first year at Arizona State. He is competing with four returners to be the starting QB.
Credit: Jeff Metcalfe, Rob Schumacher, Nick Oza, Thomas Hawthorne/Arizona Republic
16 of 21
Arizona State head coach Todd Graham discusses the first day of football spring practice on March 14, 2017 at the Kajikawa Practice Facility in Tempe, Ariz. By Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
17 of 21
ASU football begins sixth season under coach Todd Graham with five new assistant coaches. (Jeff Metcalfe/azcentral sports)
18 of 21
Transfer quarterback Blake Barnett talks about coming to ASU to compete for the starting job on Wednesday. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
19 of 21
Arizona State offensive coordinator Billy Napier discusses the first day of football spring practice on March 14, 2017 at the Kajikawa Practice Facility in Tempe, Ariz. By Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
20 of 21
ASU football coach Todd Graham talks about the challenge of hiring “good people” and losing them to other schools entering ASU’s 2017 season on Wednesday. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
21 of 21
ASU football – 10 players to watch in 2017
Who will be the starting QB at ASU?
ASU football: 5 areas of concern
5 observations from ASU spring football
Early preseason top 10 college football teams for 2017
Wide receivers shine in ASU football spring game
ASU shows off some offense in spring game
Sights from ASU football’s spring game
2017 ASU Spring Game & Fan Fest
Todd Graham: ‘The big thing is to get better fundamentally’
ASU coach Graham on Richard, Hill and more
ASU defensive line coach Michael Slater gives instructions at practice
Todd Graham speaks after ASU holds first spring scrimmage
ASU football completes second week of spring practice
Todd Graham on new consultants White, Christensen
ASU QB Blake Barnett on starting spring
Todd Graham on opening of ASU spring practice
ASU football opens spring practice
Transfer QB Blake Barnett on coming to ASU to compete
Billy Napier discusses first day of ASU practice
Todd Graham talks staffing challenges, 2017 season
ASU coach Todd Graham got a win by adding a decently regarded linebacker Monday, showing his focus is in the right place: recruiting and defense.
Credit where it’s due, by the way. Last week, when athletic director Ray Anderson balked at extending Graham’s contract, which had been the standard practice, I said it was a clear signal that recent Sun Devil mediocrity would no longer be tolerated.
ASU has finished a game below .500 each of the last two years. In 2016, the Sun Devils lost their last six games. That isn’t the sort of record that deserves support.
I also said that to improve, Graham should focus on defense and recruiting. Specifically I wanted the coach to beat out schools in California and Washington … and also Michigan State.
Lo and behold, ASU snags a pass rusher who picked ASU over UCLA, Washington State … and also Michigan State.
What an amazing coincidence, right?
Anyway, the new guy, Reggie Hughes from Calabasas, Calif., won’t get to campus until 2018. Next season, the defense, which was the worst in the nation in passing yards allowed last year and second-worst two years ago, will rely on a crop of young defensive backs and new defensive coordinator Phil Bennett.
Under NCAA rules, schools can’t comment on recruits until signing day.
Hughes — who ranks three out of five stars, according to 247 Sports — is the fourth player to commit for next year’s class. He’s the third this month and the third overall on defense.
ASU typically brings in about 20 new players each season.
Let’s see who else Graham can get and whether he can keep me off his case.
Connect with Greg Moore on Twitter, @writingmoore