Player News

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An AFC executive told NFL Media's Lance Zierlein the Arizona State LB Christian Sam doesn't make you "check the tape again."

"He makes a bunch of stops and he's always around the ball but you never really see those 'run the tape back again' type of plays to get you excited," the executive told Zierlein. Sam does "look the part" according to Zierlein (6'2/237) and he has the versatility to play either the SAM or WILL. While he does have athleticism, he doesn't always show that speed on tape, and he can get out of position when he guesses rather than diagnoses. Zierlein gives him a fifth-to-sixth round grade, so expect to see Sam's name called at some point on Day 3.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 14 - 12:33 PM

AN AFC regional scout told NFL Media's Lance Zierlein that Arizona State DT Joseph "JoJo" Wicker offers "good upside."

"Great kid. Smart. He's a little quiet but he competes really hard and he's got good upside. I think a coach is going to be very excited once they realize they've got some talent that they can work with," the scout told Zierlein. Wicker entered the draft after making 13 tackles for loss -- including six sacks -- and Zierlein projects him to go late on Day 3 or possibly be a priority free agent.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 13 - 7:59 PM

Arizona State hired former program WR Derek Hagan to serve as an offensive analyst.

This off-field analyst post will be Hagan's first job in the coaching ranks at any level, college or professional. He played wide receiver at Arizona State from 2002-05 -- twice being named an all-conference performer -- before landing with the Dolphins as a third-round pick in the 2006 draft. He ultimately put together an eight-year NFL career before hanging up the cleats in 2014.
Source: Diehards
Apr 12 - 3:53 PM

NDT Scouting's Kyle Crabbs compared RB Kalen Ballage to Minnesota Vikings RB Latavius Murray.

Crabbs explains the similarities, saying both players are "big, explosive straight-line runners" and "carry some inconsistencies with their vision and ability to identify a hole when pressing up into the line of scrimmage." Ballage (6'1/228) produced an athletic composite score in the 89th percentile with his combine numbers, but reportedly "had one of the best pro day workouts ever" according to Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline. Despite the gaudy athleticism, Ballage failed to be a major college producer, never surpassing 700 rushing yards in four seasons. He is viewed as a Day 3 selection by most but could find his way into Day 2 after his outstanding pro day.
Apr 11 - 9:24 PM

Arizona State OC Rob Likens will miss Friday's spring game following the passing of his father.

Likens' father sadly passed away this week after a lengthy battle with illness. Presumably, the Sun Devils will allow him the time he needs with his family in the tough days beyond Friday's scrimmage, with the rest of the staff stepping up to help fill his absence.
Apr 11 - 1:29 PM

Arizona State hired former Oregon State offensive consultant Dan Cozzetto to an unspecified post.

This will be Cozzetto's third go-round with the Sun Devils after previously working in the desert as offensive coordinator (1992-99) and tight ends coach (2007-08). He spent the past season assisting at Oregon State. Cozzetto is the definition of a coaching lifer, having spent 39 years in the profession.
Apr 10 - 6:53 PM

Arizona State signed previously uncommitted four-star 2018 LB Reggie Hughes in December.

Hughes was a long-time commitment to Arizona State, and didn't waiver even with the coaching change. He ranks 34th at the OLB position according to Rivals, and 47th in the state of California. Arizona State will need to make significant strides going forward to compete in the Pac-12 South. Getting athletes like Hughes to come to Tempe will certainly help in that process.
Source: Rivals
Mar 26 - 1:32 PM

Arizona State redshirt junior WR John Humphrey has been ruled out for the 2018 season after sustaining a severe Achilles injury in practice on Tuesday.

Humphrey (5'11/169) has already undergone surgery to repair the Achilles. A knee injury helped limit the wideout to just six games played for the 2017 season. He caught 13 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown in that truncated space. While this new Achilles issue is unfortunate, Humphrey was mostly viewed as a depth/rotational piece for the Wildcats, rather than a linchpin wideout. N'Keal Harry, Kyle Williams and Tommy Hudson figure to see the bulk of targets for the upcoming campaign.
Mar 22 - 5:32 PM

Arizona State LB Christian Sam is going through a private workout with the Houston Texans on Wednesday.

Sam (6'1/244) also dined with Houston on Tuesday. At the NFL Scouting Combine, the Arizona State product tested in the 32nd percentile of pro linebackers. He's a probable Day 3 selection for April's draft.
Mar 21 - 4:58 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline passes along that the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons met with Arizona State RB Kalen Ballage during Wednesday's pro day.

Ballage (6'1/228) was touted as a potential workout warrior prior to the NFL Scouting Combine, but posted only a solid -- but not spectacular -- set of tests in Indy. Pro day, apparently a completely different story. Pauline relays that Ballage beasted the 40-yard dash in the vicinity of 4.35 seconds and notched a much improved vertical jump of 37 inches. He hit only 32.5 in Indianapolis. The analyst additionally notes that Ballage looked "sensational during position drills and really stood out catching the ball" and that he was "explosive in and out of breaks and showed natural hands." We have serious questions about his patience and vision -- he struggled to capitalize on that elite athleticism at ASU -- but there are going to be NFL teams who inflate his stock based solely on his athletic traits. Whether this is enough to boost him to a Day 2 selection remains to be seen. Both Draft Analyst and NFL Media's Lance Zierlein view him as a Day 3 talent.
Mar 15 - 12:56 PM

Arizona State RB Kalen Ballage completed one of "the best pro day workouts... ever witnessed from a running back," according to Tony Pauline.

We will call hyperbole on this one, but we weren't at the workout. Ballage produced an athletic composite score in the 56th percentile at the NFL Combine, firmly in the average range. Apparently, he improved on those numbers on Wednesday, strengthening his vertical and forty time. Ballage is a very interesting player whose style currently relies on athleticism, but he is a comfortable receiver for a ball carrier of his size.
Mar 15 - 9:14 AM

Arizona State is hiring Kevin Mawae to serve as an offensive analyst.

Mawae spent 2016 as the offensive line coach for the Chicago Bears. The former LSU center was one of the best at the position in the NFL, making eight Pro Bowls while playing for the Seahawks, Jets and Titans. It's safe to assume he'll be working with the offensive lineman for the Sun Devils in 2018.
Mar 12 - 3:18 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline reports that the Detroit Lions, Houston Texans and New England Patriots are interested in Arizona State LB Christian Sam.

Sam (6'1/244) ran a 4.76 forty in Indianapolis and led all participating linebackers with 28 bench reps. A former hyped recruit, Sam was productive for the Sun Devils. His NFL Draft arrow is pointing up.
Mar 4 - 3:58 PM

Arizona State RB Demario Richard ran the 40-yard dash in 4.70 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Just a big ol' sigh for Richard, who was one of five running backs to fall short of at least cracking 4.70 seconds in the combine's spotlight athletic test. Neither his vertical jump (29.5 inches) or broad jump (115 inches) particularly impressed, either. He's unlikely to see much draft love this spring.
Source: NFL.com
Mar 2 - 6:40 PM

Arizona State RB Kalen Ballage notched a vertical leap of 33.5 inches at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Ballage (6'1/228) also ran a 40-yard dash of 4.46 seconds. Though his vertical was relatively unnoteworthy, he was a monster in the broad jump, leaping 122 inches in a single bound. That was one of the top marks for his position. Ballage's athletic upside could land him as a Day 2 selection, though we were consistently underwhelmed with his vision and overall body of work at Arizona State.
Source: NFL.com
Mar 2 - 2:33 PM


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