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NCAA Football Arizona State Sun Devils

5 Reasons Why Arizona State Football Fans Should Be Excited For 2014 Season

5 Reasons Why Arizona State Football Fans Should Be Excited For 2014 Season

D.J. Foster Jaelen Strong
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Being ranked in the top 25 for the first time since 2008 has Tempe buzzing with excitement. I am one of the few writers picking Arizona State to repeat as Pac-12 South champs even as they have lost nine starters on defense. That being said, here are five reasons why fans should be excited.

5. Todd Graham is One of The Best Defensive Coaches in America

Todd Graham
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

5. Todd Graham is One of The Best Defensive Coaches in America

Todd Graham
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that the Sun Devils must replace nine starters on defense, but thankfully, Todd Graham is a defensive coach. Graham is so tuned in to the defense that he is one of the only head coaches in America who doesn't even watch his offense while they are on the field on game days. Graham is constantly making adjustments and talking to his defense on the bench during the game.

4. Offensive Line Will Be A Huge Strength

Jamil Douglas
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

4. Offensive Line Will Be A Huge Strength

Jamil Douglas
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

ASU returns three starters, including 6-foot-4 monster Jamil Douglas, who has started 27 consecutive games. More importantly, ASU adds Auburn transfer Christian Westerman. He was the third overall tackle on Rivals.com, but originally left the state for Auburn after watching them with a national championship with Cam Newton. He is a local kid from Chandler High School, which is key for Graham’s foundation of in-state recruiting.

3. Taylor Kelly is One of The Best Quarterbacks in The Country

Most consider Taylor Kelly the “steady Eddy” quarterback of the Pac-12 because of his ability to avoid mistakes and make the right play. In a conference with many third-year starters and Heisman candidates, no one has thrown more touchdowns over the past two seasons than Kelly with 57. A third-year starting QB playing with a third-year offensive coordinator is a recipe for gaudy numbers in 2014.

2. Jaelen Strong is The Best Wide Receiver in The Pac-12

After just one year of JUCO ball in 2012, Strong splashed onto the D-1 scene in 2013, catching 75 passes for 1,122 yards and seven scores. He is extremely skilled in opening up to the ball on the back shoulder fade, as well as going up at the ball's highest point to catch the jump ball fade. A full offseason with the Sun Devils' strength and conditioning program has helped immensely. Strong couldn't even bench press 225 for one rep last season. This year, he did it eight times.

D.J. Foster is the Most Explosive Player in The Conference

Graham has called Foster his “home run hitter” for the offense. Everyone saw just how dangerous Foster is in the Pac-12 title game where he scored on two long runs before getting injured in the third quarter. As soon as Graham was hired, he told fans he needed to keep the talented Arizona high school players in the state. While most local players want to get out of the heat, Foster stayed. Foster was a prized recruit from Scottsdale, AZ that once scored 10 touchdowns in a high school playoff game.