Kevin Ozier Must Lead Receivers in Passing Game for Arizona State Sun Devils

Ed Szczepanski – USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona State Sun Devils enjoyed some surprising success in 2012 thanks in large part to the emergence of quarterback Taylor Kelly, who completed a school-record 67 percent of his passes a year ago. Head coach Todd Graham has high expectations for the Sun Devils in the Pac 12 in 2013, but for them to get there, they will need a leader to emerge in the receiving corps. Can Kevin Ozier answer the call?

The senior wide receiver may not have much of a choice in the matter. Arizona State has very litte in terms of depth returning in 2013 with Ozier as the most productive returning wide receiver after catching 21 passes for 324 yards and five touchdowns. He is one of only three wide receivers who caught double-digit passes a year ago to return.

That lack of experience prompted Graham to pursue some experienced JUCO options during recruiting. He found a pair of 6-foot-4 playmakers in Joe Morris and Jaelen Strong who will come in and get every opportunity to contribute next fall. But there is going to be a period of transition as they move from JUCO to the FBS level and Arizona State’s early slate is going to be daunting.

That means Ozier has to step up as a leader in the passing game and rely on his experience as a senior to give the rest of the receiving corps a good example to follow. He showed excellent playmaking as a junior, finishing with the second highest yards per reception average on the team at 15.43 yards per catch. He has to take the next step and demand a bigger role of the passing game by becoming a primary target for Kelly.

Arizona State has a void of leadership at wide receiver after losing its top two receivers from a year ago. Can Kevin Ozier step up and fill that void?

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