College football beat writers this time of year can often seem like Debbie Downers. They report this touted recruit hasn't qualified, or this injured starter is still injured, or this guy got arrested for stealing a sheep.
Arizona State fans -- at least for today -- should all send Doug Haller flowers, because that's mostly all he has for you with this notebook -- flowery good news!
[RB] Marion Grice and [NT] Mike Pennel -- two key players in Todd Graham's first Arizona State recruiting class -- have completed academic requirements and are expected to be with the Sun Devils when camp opens Aug. 3.
By all accounts, these two guys are legit and are almost certain to contribute, even though the Sun Devils are in great shape at running back and are solid at DT. Pennel, a 340-pounder, in particular, gives the Sun Devils something they lack on their interior line -- size -- which is important in their new 3-4/hybrid defense.
Haller has information on several other incoming players, almost all of it good. He also notes that suspended LB/DE Junior Onyeali remains on track to rejoin the team, and that RB Cameron Marshall, coming back form ankle surgery, is in the "best shape of his life."
The only caveat the Pac-12 blog will offer -- a moment of Debbie Downer -- is that fans often expect touted JC transfers to smoothly transition into key roles. And, no, it doesn't escape me when I do preseason position rankings that some fans lambaste my lack of acknowledgement for incoming players. That's certainly their right. But I'm mostly a skeptic on penciling guys onto the depth chart before their first practice. After doing this a few years, my feeling on JC transfers is they live up to expectations about a third of the time. And a third of the time they are complete busts.