The Arizona State Sun Devils found plenty of success in year one under Todd Graham. Outside of a four game losing streak in the middle of their conference schedule, ASU looked like one of the stronger teams in the Pac 12. They still finished 8-5 with a bowl win and have set their sights on even bigger things in 2013. If they get it done, it will be the stable of running backs, led by Marion Grice, who takes them there.
Grice will be the main back in what could be the most talented backfield in college football next season. While they lose Cameron Marshall and his 40 career touchdowns, Grice appears ready to step up into the featured role and flourish. The former junior college standout made an immediate impact in 2012, rushing for 679 yards while adding 425 yards receiving and scoring 19 total touchdowns. He finished last season strong, scoring three times in the wild win over the rival Arizona Wildcats.
But Grice won’t be alone in the rushing attack next season. D.J. Foster appears to be the heir apparent to the No. 1 running back role once Grice has moved on, showing just what he’s capable of in limited action as a freshman in 2012. He finished the year with 493 yards rushing and 533 yards receiving and six total touchdowns. He will step up into a bigger role in the rushing attack in 2013 as a complementary back to Grice and pair of them should form a dangerous duo that could rank among the elite in all of college football.
And the rushing options don’t stop there. Quarterback Taylor Kelly took the conference by storm in 2012 with his 3,039 yards passing and 29 touchdowns through the air, but he also showed off some ability with his legs. The quarterback finished third on the team in rushing last season, gaining 516 yards on the ground with a touchdown. Redshirt freshman Terrell Davis will also step in and add some excellent depth to the backfield.
For the Sun Devils to get to the Rose Bowl in 2013, the running game will have to be strong. Luckily for Graham and ASU, they have a stable of running backs ready to put this offense on their back. How far will they carry this team next season?