Young not resting on his laurels

In 2012 linebacker Chris Young was a staple on the Arizona State defense, finishing third on the team with 82 tackles and 14 tackles for a loss. That trend has continued into the spring for Young, as he looks to anchor the linebacker unit this upcoming season.

Arriving last year from Arizona Western Community College Chris Young adjusted to the pace of Pac-12 football with ease as a junior college. Looking back, he claimed that this transition didn't really come as a surprise to him.

"You've got a lot of challenges when you play football," Young said. "You just have to step up to those challenges and overcome. The big deal with me was just knowing that I've played football my entire life and the speed of the game wasn't a big deal to get used to."

Now a senior, Young isn't going to let last year's success keep him from working to become an even bigger presence on the field come September.

"I definitely feel like it's still a work in progress, still have a lot to work on," Young said. "Still working on and tweaking those things like endurance, stamina, physicality, mental toughness and everything else that comes with football."

In his junior season, Young started all thirteen games at the hybrid linebacker-safety position known as the ‘Spur' in Arizona State's defense. While taking the majority of reps at Spur this spring, Young has also worked in at the ‘Will' linebacker position.

"They both have their own perks," Young explained. "Playing (Spur) obviously has a lot of open space to work with and then at ‘Will' you've got to cage the big linemen. Either way I feel comfortable, they both require physicality and that's what I like."

Young commented that the Will position gives him a better advantage and suits his talents best because he can be closer to the ball and can hit the gaps faster. However, he doesn't mind switching back and forth between roles and he isn't looking to stick to just one.

"I've got great knowledge of both positions and I plan on working at getting better at both," he said.

With Brandon Magee now graduated and headed to the NFL draft, the Sun Devil linebacking corps lost not only its leading tackler but also the defense's, if not team's, most vocal leader.

Does Young see himself or one of his other teammates stepping up to fill those shoes?

"We depend on each other," Young noted. "I look at this as a big team sport and you just really have to depend on each other to do our assignments and know each other well.

"But I'm definitely a lead by example type of guy, I get tired of talking so I just try to show my teammates to work hard and show some great effort."

That effort Young has shown throughout all last year and into this spring is an aspect that Arizona State head coach Todd Graham thinks very highly of.

"Chris had a really good three-quarters of a year and then the other quarter kind of went up and down a bit," Graham said. "But he has had a great spring, every day bringing it, a guy that has great potential and has done very, very well."

In his first year as head coach, Graham led the second best defense in the Pac-12 in total yards allowed. Coming into this year with eight returning starters on this group, Graham hasn't been shy is expressing his desire for even bigger and better results out of the Sun Devil defense.

The team's ultimate goal is to earn a Rose Bowl berth; something the linebacker admitted to be a daunting hill to climb, yet a feat that is attainable.

"We've got a big challenge ahead of us, we got a lot of competition for our schedule and it's just one of those challenges you've got to overcome," Young said. "This season we just have to make some big strides to prove to the Pac-12 that ASU is a top contender."

A solid senior campaign by the linebacker is certainly one necessary element in the journey to that lofty accomplishment. If spring practice is any indicator, Chris Young is surely on the right path.

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