What you need to know ...
It'll be a major disappointment if this isn't one of the
nation's five most productive attacks with the addition of
coordinator Roy Wittke to work with the quarterbacks. The
passing game will be deadly Rudy Carpenter
able put up All-America numbers with a speedy receiving
corps to work with an a huge, experienced line to play behind.
The running game won't be neglected with Keegan Herring and
Shaun DeWitty sure to combine for around 1,500 yards. Zach
Miller is one of the nation's best tight ends leading a sleek,
fast group of receivers who'll all get plenty of work.
Passing: Rudy Carpenter
156-228, 2,273 yds, 17 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Keegan Herring
158 carries, 870 yds, 6 TD
Receiving: Rudy Burgess
59 catches, 655 yds, 4 TD
Star of the offense: Sophomore QB Rudy Carpenter
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior C
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore RB Shaun DeWitty
Best pro prospect:
Junior TE Zach Miller
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Miller, 2) Carpenter, 3) WR Rudy Burgess
Strength of the offense: Passing game, experience
Weakness of the offense:
Proven stability on the line
For the moment, the Sun Devils have the best quarterback
situation in America. However, this obviously changed in a big,
huge way with Sam Keller transferring to Nebraska after a
controversial quarterback derby. Rudy Carpenter isn't an
explosive passer like Keller and he doesn't have the same arm,
but he finished last year as the nation's most efficient passer.
Either one could start and put up monster numbers. If you
combined the production from the quarterbacks, the two completed
311 of 492 passes (63%) for 4,438 yards and 37 touchdowns with
11 interceptions. The number three spot is
shaky with Derek Shaw transferring meaning walk-on Brett Boon is
the emergency man.
The key to the unit: Rudy Carpenter has to be sharp right
off the bat to prevent any sort of second guessing about the
Quarterback Rating: 8
- Rudy Carpenter, Soph. - 156-228, 68%, 2,273 yds, 17
TD, 2 INT, 1 rushing touchdown
Carpenter stepped in when Sam Keller went down and turned out to
be even better finishing the season as the nation's most
efficient passer with a rating of 175.01. In his six appearances
he threw for 300 yards three times and 400 yards twice
highlighted by a brilliant 467-yard, four touchdown day against
Rutgers In the Insight Bowl. He doesn't have the arm of Keller
and isn't nearly the same pro prospect, but he's deadly accurate
and he never, ever, makes mistakes. He's as tough as they come
able to take big hit after big hit and keep popping up.
- Sam Keller, Sr. - 155-264, 58%, 2,165 yds, 20 TD, 9 INT,
1 rushing touchdown
Keller was supposed to be the starter up until late this summer,
lost the job, and then transferred to Nebraska. He was on the way to an All-America caliber
2006 season with two
400-yard games and two 300-yard games in his first six outings
along with four touchdown passes in each of his first four
games, and then he got hurt against Stanford and missed the
second half of the year with a thumb injury. He's a big
6-4, 240-pound bomber with a live arm and a self-confidence and
swagger that's both a help and a hindrance. For example, his
attitude helped ASU bomb away against USC on the way to a
halftime lead, but he pressed too much when things started going
south and finished with five interceptions and a loss.
- Brett Boon, RFr.
The former walk-on ran the scout team last season and will be
the clear number three man. He's a small 6-1 and 174 pounds, but
he's athletic and has a good arm.
New running back coach John
Wrenn has some good pieces to work with. Keegan Herring is a
speed back who turned into the team's biggest weapon in the
backfield last season, but he'll be pushed hard for the starting
job by big Shaun DeWitty. Preston Jones is a productive number
three back who'll slowly be phased out once true freshmen Rodney
Glass and Dimitri Nance and JUCO transfer Ryan Torain get their
feet wet. Glass is the one to get excited about with his
next-level speed. The situation is so strong that do-it-all star
Rudy Burgess, who finished second on the team in rushing, can
spend all his time at receiver and cornerback.
The key to the unit: Get the backs a bit more
involved in the passing game and hope Shaun DeWitty is as good
as he was this spring.
Running Back Rating: 8
- Keegan Herring, Soph. - 158 carries, 870 yds, 5.5 ypc,
6 TD, 3 catches, 4 yds
Herring came from out of nowhere to lead the team in rushing as
a true freshman ripping off three 100-yard game including a
197-yard effort against Northwestern. He bulked up a bit but is
still a very fast, shifty
back with home run hitting speed. He hasn't been used as a
receiver, but he has the potential to be a dangerous all-around
back if he can get the ball in his hands on the move.
- Shaun DeWitty, Soph. - 6 carries, 24 yds, 4.0 ypc
The star of spring ball, the 6-2, 216-pound sophomore is a
serious threat to win the starting job come fall. He brings far
more power than Keegan Herring with enough speed to bust off big
runs if he gets a little bit of room to move. His emergence has
allowed the coaching staff to play around with the backfield
since he has more than proven to be a capable number two back.
- Preston Jones, Jr. - 39 carries, 187 yds, 4.8 ypc, 2 TD, 1
catch, 3 yds
The walk-on turned into a fast option as last season went on
finishing third on the team in rushing. He has enough experience
and talent to get a few carries here and there, but he's not the
type of back you want to revolve the ground attack around.
- Rodney Glass, Fr.
Really, really, really fast. The superstar California high
school sprinter will bring some big-time wheels to the corps
when he arrives this fall. He's only 5-10 and 175 pounds, but
he's too fast to keep off the field.
While it's sort of a hodge-podge of talents
and options, it'll be among the nation's most productive corps
even after losing top deep threat Derek Hagan. Zach Miller is
the start of the show returning for what should be an
All-America season. Jamaal Lewis, an NFL caliber tight end, will
move to outside receiver, Terry Richardson will hopefully be
back in the mix after being suspended for spring ball, Rudy
Burgess will be the main inside target after spending last year
at running back and receiver and this spring at cornerback, and
inexperienced Mike Jones appearing to be one of the rising stars
of the group. It'll be a better corps at the end of the season
once speedy Brandon Smith and Nate Kimbrough get their feet wet.
The key to the unit: Consistency. There are plenty of
passes to go around and a superstar in tight end Zach Miller to
Receiver Rating: 8.5
- Rudy Burgess, Jr. - 59 catches, 655 yds, 11.1 ypc, 4
TD, 145 carries, 644 yds, 4.4 ypc, 6 TD
Burgess is the jack-of-all-trades for the Sun Devils finishing
last year as the team's second leading rusher and second leading
receiver. He also spent time working out at corner before moving
back to the offense. He has next-level speed and cutting
ability, but he didn't hit as many home runs as he probably
should've considering all his skills. He's a dangerous inside
receiver who can be deadly when he gets the ball on the run.
- Mike Jones, Soph - 4 catches, 22 yds
Jones took advantage of the opportunities he got this spring and
grew into one of the favorite targets. He's 6-3 and 200 pounds
with the size to play inside and enough speed to be dangerous on
the outside X position. Along with being a potentially
game-breaking receiver, he's also a star outfield for the
- H-Back Brent Miller, Jr. - 7 catches, 111 yards, 15.9
ypc, 2 TD
Miller will be used as a hybrid of tight end and fullback. The
older brother of tight end Zach Miller will need a little time
in the position needing to grow into a blocker, but he's a solid
receiver who should become more a weapon as the season goes on.
- Tight end Zach Miller, Jr. - 38 catches, 476 yds, 12.5
ypc, 4 TD
One of the nation's best tight ends, the 6-5, 258-pound junior
is a Todd Heap clone who'll set every record for ASU tight ends
before his time is done. He gets the headlines for his receiving
skills, but he's one of the nation's best blocking tight ends
and a possible top 15 pick if he chooses to come out next
season. He makes plays like a wide receiver with soft, reliable
- Terry Richardson, Sr. - 37 catches, 495 yds, 13.4 ypc,
"T-Rich" is one of the nation's best kick and punt returners and
now will do more for the offense once he gets back in the team's
good graces. He was suspended from spring ball for violating an
unspecified team rule, but he'll be back this fall as the team's
most experienced and versatile receiver.
- Jamaal Lewis, Sr. - 23 catches, 446 yds, 19.4 ypc, 5 TD
Lewis is one of the nation's most dangerous receiving tight
ends, and now he'll move to the X to be one of the biggest
outside receivers in college football. He's 6-4 and 230 pounds
with the speed and hands to be a dangerous receiver now that he
doesn't have to spend as much time blocking. He'll play tight
end at the next level.
- Nate Kimbrough, Soph. - 7 catches, 76 yds, 10.9 ypc, 1
A key reserve going into the season. the 6-1 sophomore can play
any of the receiver positions fitting in best on the inside.
He's a sleek, speedy threat with big play potential.
- Brandon Smith, RFr.
One of the team's fastest players, the 6-1, 192--pound Smith is
a perfect fit to do plenty of damage on the outside. He'll play
a big role early on.
- Tight end Andrew Pettes, Soph.
The 262-pound sophomore might have a hard time seeing playing
time behind Zach Miller and with Jamaal Lewis able to move over
from wide receiver if needed, but he's a big target who should
grow into a more physical blocker.
- H-Back Dane Guthrie, Soph.
The 274-pound sophomore is a much, much bigger option at H-Back
than Brent Miller. The transfer from Florida is athletic enough
to be used as a tight end and big enough to become a punishing
blocker for the ground game.
The line spent last year fighting through injuries but
returns experienced, versatile, talented, and very, very big. Tackle Andrew
Carnahan is one of the toughest and most experienced linemen in the Pac
10 leading a massive group with everyone coming in at 300 pounds or more
with a little too much beef at some spots. Inconsistency in the starting
lineup, no mobility among the quarterbacks, and 493 pass attempts can be
attributed to the 36 sacks, but it would be nice if the number dipped
The key to the unit: Everyone has to stay healthy and
the experience has to come through with a consistent season.
Offensive Line Rating: 8
- OT Brandon Rodd, Jr.
Rodd has gotten into better shape and should be quicker in pass
protection. He made the successful recovery from a torn ACL to be a rock
all season long after making the move from guard to tackle.
- OG Stephen Berg, Sr.
The only question is his health after battling injuries for the last two
seasons. The 6-5, 309-pound junior has been a regular starter who has
emerged as a decent all-around blocker, but a leg injury kept him down
two years ago and a shoulder problem kept him out of spring ball this
- C Mike Pollak, Jr.
The new starter to the mix, the 300-pound junior has seen more than his
share of time as a reserve and part-time starter. He's bigger and
stronger with the bulk to become a better run blocker.
- OG Zach Krula, Sr.
Krula filled out his 6-7 frame in a big way over the last year going
form a thin, athletic 289 pounds to a 339-pound monster. He missed most
of last year with an ankle injury and will be back by this fall.
- OT Andrew Carnahan, Sr.
The star of the line, the 6-8, 300-pound senior is a reliable veteran
with 33 career starts. He's not the most consistent pass blocker around,
but he's as tough as they come and has been good enough to earn All-Pac
10 honors over the last two seasons at right tackle.
- OG Robert Gustavis, Jr.
Ready to step into the starting role if needed, the 6-4, 312-pound
junior saw all the time at right guard last year when Zach Krula went
down. He got bigger this off-season and should be more physical as both
a guard and center.
- OG Leo Talavou, Soph.
The 6-4, 371-pound sophomore is one of the nation's biggest linemen. He
has seen a little bit of time and can play either guard spot.
- C Thomas Altieri, RFr.
One of the nation's top center recruits a few years ago, the
294-pound-pound redshirt freshman will push Mike Pollak hard for the