Over the next two weeks, the Pac-12 blog will be looking around the conference at several players who really stood out during spring ball. It’s only 15 practices, but it’s enough time to catch the eyes of coaches and gain momentum going into the season.
Today we check out Arizona State.
Breakout player: LB D.J. Calhoun
2013 statistics: N/A -- was a high school senior
The case for Calhoun: Arizona State is looking to replace three of its four starting linebackers from 2013, and Calhoun sounds like he has a good shot to be one of the replacements. The early enrollee was quick to impress in Arizona State’s spring camp and finished the spring listed as the top Will linebacker with junior college transfer Antonio Longino.
Speed isn’t an issue for Calhoun, who ran a 4.35 in the 40-yard dash. Neither is size -- at 6 foot, 205 pounds, Calhoun certainly has the physical attributes to be a solid weakside 'backer for the Sun Devils.
After that, the only question is whether an early enrolling freshman can handle the transition to the college game fast enough to become an immediate contributor. But considering how ASU coach Todd Graham spent the spring complimenting Calhoun on how quickly he has caught on to the Sun Devils’ defense and his overall football IQ, it sounds like that shouldn’t be a problem.
Anytime a player can enroll early, it gives him a jump-start on his fellow freshmen. But when an early enrollee is as talented and physically ready as Calhoun and that’s coupled with a depleted position group, it creates a big opportunity. Thus far, it sounds like Calhoun has done everything to take hold of that opportunity and could be a name we hear a lot of this fall.
Other breakout players: