Jaelen Strong Quickly Finding his Rhythm with Arizona State Sun Devils
The Arizona State Sun Devils have been one of the more explosive offensive teams in the Pac 12 this season. While that hasn’t always resulted in wins with ASU sitting at 3-2 (1-1 Pac 12), the offense has given them an opportunity to win every game. A huge part of that offensive success has been the breakout performance of junior college transfer Jaelen Strong at wide receiver, who is off to one of the best starts in school history for the Sun Devils.
In his first five games with ASU, Strong has made an immediate impact, catching 39 passes for 569 yards and three touchdowns. His 113.8 yards per game average is the 15th best average in the country and he’s proven to be a reliable threat for Taylor Kelly in the passing game. Of Strong’s 39 receptions, 25 of them have resulted in a first down. Add in four pass interference penalties that resulted in the chains getting moved and Strong is responsible for 23 percent of the team’s first downs this season.
Kelly has benefited greatly with Strong on the outside. In 2012, the ASU quarterback came out of nowhere to win the starting quarterback job for Todd Graham and had a breakout season despite not having a true No. 1 wide receiver to throw to. Strong has stepped in and has immediately lived up to expectations, becoming the dominant presence in the passing game that the Sun Devils were missing. He seems only to get stronger each and every week and will undoubtedly be considered one of the best receivers in the conference by season’s end, if not the entire country.
Arizona State has big plans for 2013 and Jaelen Strong has done his part in helping them get there. This ASU offense is as explosive as almost anyone in the country because Strong has stepped up as their missing piece and become a true No. 1 wide receiver for them. How good he eventually becomes will probably dictate how close ASU gets to their goal of making the Rose Bowl.