Spring Football ASU Awards

Which players earned our recognition for their efforts during Arizona State's spring football? Here's a look at our Awards list.

Most Valuable Player: Senior quarterback Mike Bercovici. No player has better personified the ethos of the Arizona State program under coach Todd Graham than Bercovici, a rare leader in that he's never been a regular starter and yet has the full command and respect of the team in the way a multi-year star would. Bercovici has dramatically developed during his ASU career, demonstrating a type of persistence and determination that is very rare. His value on the field is absolute. Nobody is more essential to the success of the team in 2015. Runners up: Senior safety Jordan Simone/senior wide receiver D.J. Foster.

Best Offensive Player: Senior center Nick Kelly. This one is very close between a few players but Kelly deserves to be recognized and plays a position that not only touches the ball on every offensive play, but goes under-appreciated by the masses despite being of such critical importance. Kelly is a first-team all-league candidate and deserving of being a Rimington Award Watch List player. Runners up: sophomore running back Demario Richard/senior wide receiver D.J. Foster.

Best Defensive Player: Senior cornerback Lloyd Carrington. All spring, Carrington and senior wide receiver D.J. Foster battled on the boundary side of the field, a more interest man on man competition than any other we observed during the period. These guys are both physical and athletic. Carrington represented himself extremely well and is a first-team all-league candidate. He's better against the run and screen game than recent ASU all-league cornerbacks Robert Nelson, Osahon Irabor and Deveron Carr, and is a lock down coverage corner. Runner up: Simone (junior Spur Viliami Moeakiola isn't eligible because he wasn't a participant).

Most Improved Offensive Player: Sophomore running back Kalen Ballage: It was easy to see Ballage had the makings of being quite a physical specimen but he never looked like a true running back last year as a freshman. That's no longer the case. He's running with much more purpose between the tackles and is shucking off defenders in a way he didn't previously, with the aid of 15 extra pounds and a lot more strength and flexibility. In the open field, he's a blur. A back injury kind of derailed Ballage in camp last year but he's much further along than he was even six months ago.Runners up: Freshman offensive lineman Sam Jones/redshirt freshman offensive lineman Quinn Bailey.

Most Improved Defensive Player: Senior cornerback Solomon Means. We always likes Means as a coverage cornerback and he had a willingness to be physical at the line of scrimmage, but he lacked strength and was too easily blocked or moved out of position. He's added more than 10 pounds now and is holding up better as a result, though this will remain an area to watch as ASU gets into camp in August. Means is technically pretty sound and a little better athlete mobility-wise than given credit for. He has a real chance to be a starter if he continues his progression. Running up: Redshirt freshman defensive end Renell Wren.

Most Improved Special Teams Player: Junior punter Matt Haack. A real case could be made that Haack is the most improved player on the entire roster over the last few months and no doubt the addition of special teams coach Shawn Slocum has been instrumental in that development. Haack's consistency is dramatically better and he's much more likely to uncork booming, high hanging punts that are deeper and harder to field, much less return. Runner up: Ballage

Best Newcomer: Freshman quarterback Brady White. There are only five players here to choose from and though others made a good impression, the pick is White. This is a player who has remarkable poise and offensive fluency for a freshman newcomer at the position. He thinks the game at a very high level and has very good tools that will continue to get better as he works hard, and he's a gym rat type guy who is extremely dedicated to the craft and expects a lot of himself. Runner up: freshman offensive lineman Steve Miller

Best development by Coach: Offensive line coach Chris Thomsen. The improvements displayed by senior offensive tackle Billy McGehee, redshirt freshman offensive tackle Quinn Bailey and others, is quite remarkable. Thomsen has an easy going style, articulates things clearly and in a very detailed way that players understand and are able to implement. His approach to communication and skill development works very well and is worth absorbing. Runner up: Special teams/outside linebackers coach Shawn Slocum

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