Have returners critical to ASU success

Have returners critical to ASU success

Elijhah Badger, Omarr Norman-Lott and Daniyel Ngata (Photo: Twitter/@dngata2)

Though the transfer portal has been an emphatic focal point for Arizona State, which lost and gained a record number of outgoing and incoming transfers throughout the offseason, there’s still a healthy amount of returners who will be crucial to the overall success of the team in its fifth season under head coach Herman Edwards.

The void left at linebacker following the departure of four-year starter and three-year captain Darien Butler deepened when consensus Freshman All-American Eric Gentry transferred to USC, but perhaps the sting of such losses is somewhat discounted with senior captain Kyle Soelle and four-year starter Merlin Robertson back for their final seasons in Tempe.

Elsewhere on defense, sixth-year senior cornerback Timarcus Davis could be the team’s top cornerback after serving as its top backup for two seasons behind chase lucas and Jack Jonesboth of whom were selected in this year’s NFL Draft.

star defensive tackle Jermayne Lolewho missed all of last season due to a triceps tear, was still arguably ASU’s top returning player before transferring to Louisville in a critical blow to an otherwise deep defensive line unit that will now seemingly rely on sophomores Omar Norman-Lott and BJ Green to fill Lole’s prominent shoes at the three-technique position.

On offense, senior wide receiver Bryan Thompsonjunior offensive lineman Ladarius Henderson and sophomore offensive lineman ben scott are the only returning starters available to Sun Devils offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas in his debut season. The importance of Thompson’s contributions are magnified as just one of six scholarship wideouts on roster, while Henderson and Scott are without three of their fellow starters from a season ago, including Kellen Diesh and Dohnovan West after they signed with the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers, respectively, as undrafted free agents.

sophomores Elijah Badger, Daniel Ngata and Jalin Conyers are also some of the Sun Devils’ highest-upside returners who may be tasked with replacing the top-producing starter at their respective positions last season — former receiver Ricky Pearsall (Florida), running back Rachaad White (NFL) and tight end Curtis Hodge (NFL).

Here’s a closer look at the 10 returners that Sun Devil Source anticipates having the biggest impact on ASU’s success this season.

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