ASU Bolden, Simpson out with knee injuries

Arizona State, the preseason favorite in the Pac-12 South Division, suffered a major blow Tuesday when it was announced two returning senior starters -- cornerback Omar Bolden and receiver T.J. Simpson -- had suffered ACL injuries that will sideline them for five to eight months.

Bolden, a unanimous pick for first-team All-Pac-10 in 2010, is a particularly big loss. He opted to return for his senior season instead of entering the NFL draft and was an All-America candidate. The Sun Devils are deeper at receiver than at corner. Further, Bolden, whose career has taken a number of twists and turns, including a season-ending knee injury in 2009, was one of the team's best leaders.

Both will undergo surgery next week.

Deveron Carr, who's sitting out spring after shoulder surgery, and Osahon Irabo will likely be the Sun Devils' starting cornerbacks. Coach Dennis Erickson also said that Alden Darby, presently playing free safety, could switch to corner. Redshirt freshman Devan Spann was Bolden's backup on the spring depth chart.

Redshirt freshman Kevin Anderson was Simpson's backup at the "X" receiver spot.

Arizona Republic columnist Paola Boivin writes that the Sun Devils will need a leader to step up, and she suggests that linebacker Vontaze Burfict is a good candidate.