The Arizona State Sun Devils are coming off a Pac-12 South Division title in 2013 thanks in part to a swarming defense that created a wealth of turnovers. But this offseason, ASU has been forced to deal with a great deal of turnover as nine defensive starters are no longer with the program. Can safety Damarious Randall step up as an experienced leader for a rebuilding Sun Devil defense in 2014?
As a junior in 2013, Randall was a key piece of the Arizona State defense as they fought their way into the Pac-12 title game. He finished the year with 71 tackles, third most on the team, with 5.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, and a pair of forced fumbles. Now he returns this fall with another year of knowledge and experience in the defense under his belt where he will see his role expanded significantly.
In short, the Sun Devils have very few other options on the defensive side of the ball. Coming out of the spring, the other projected starters in the secondary had combined for one start and 10 of the top 12 tacklers from 2013 are no longer with the program. Randall figures to be the best player on what could be a defense in rebuild-mode early on and he will need to step up and pick up the slack to keep ASU in the conference title hunt.
Arizona State’s quick rise under head coach Todd Graham has come thanks to a swarming defense that creates negative plays and turnovers for opposing offenses. With so much talent lost from the roster this offseason, the Sun Devils are in danger of taking a step back in 2014. Damarious Randall can keep that from happening. Is he up to the challenge?