Arizona State Football: D.J. Calhoun Shows He is Ready to be the Next Defensive Star for ASU

By Matt Heinz
Arizona State Football
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

D.J.Foster exploded last night with a career-high 147 yards rushing and three touchdowns, but there is another D.J. that has the Sun Devil faithful more excited than Homer Simpson at an all-you-can-eat buffet. True freshman D.J. Calhoun got the start last night on defense and played like a man on a mission. His mission was to destroy the block in front of him, then go attack the ball carrier. That he sure did.

D.J. Calhoun had five tackles in Arizona State‘s 45-14 victory over Weber State, but did much more than what a stat sheet might portray. He was constantly in control of his gap, which is key for a linebacker. The plays in which he didn’t record a tackle, he was usually around the ball. The Sun Devils didn’t miss many tackles and therefore Calhoun’s constant pursuit of the ball doesn’t show up in the box score.

“He is tough and he’s going to be a great player. He wants to learn,” Todd Graham had to say about Calhoun after the game, via The 12th best high school linebacker in the nation last year, according to, chose ASU over USC and UCLA. The family environment fostered by Graham and his players led the California product to turn down the two L.A. schools with more tradition for the desert.

The kid flat out loves to hit. He embraces the contact, and his feet churn faster right upon the point of contact with an offensive player. Some young defensive players slow down and play nervous when a blocker or a ball carrier nears them. Not Calhoun, not even a little bit.

His high school coaches lined him up all over the field. He primarily played middle linebacker, but also aligned as an outside backer and even as a safety on some occasions. Playing all over the field will allow him to see the field better as a true freshman linebacker for ASU. It also means that Calhoun will have a better understanding of the defense as a whole if he understands the roles of all his teammates.

After watching Vontaze Burfict, Brandon MacGee and Will Sutton anchor the Sun Devil defense over the past few years, ASU fans are smiling ear to ear over Calhoun. Over the next four years, Calhoun will become a national name and a Sun Devil defensive star.

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