Player capsule: Solomon Means

Over the last two years Solomon Means has continued to develop and progress, doing so in an under-the-radar fashion that nonetheless has put him in position to compete for a starting spot in his final season in Tempe.

Player Capsule: Solomon Means

Position: Cornerback

Eligibility: Senior

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 182 pounds

2014 season quick review: Sparingly used last season in a reserve role and on special teams, Means had six tackles in 10 games of action. It was his first season playing for Arizona State. He redshirted in 2013 after transferring from the junior college level.

Secondary coach Chris Ball's assessment: “I'm really pleased with Solomon. He just keeps chipping at the rock. You see here in the spring he's worked hard to get a little bigger and stronger and that's served him well. Just like our other guys he's a good press corner and he's really helped himself out with how he's gotten in the weight room. I feel comfortable with him out there, I really do." analysis: Entering the spring, Means seemed to be clearly behind fellow senior Kweishi Brown on the depth chart. But Brown battled what he described as a meniscus issue in his knee and Means took advantage of an opportunity for more reps by demonstrating a more well rounded and evolving capability at the field side cornerback position. The big change was how much strength and size Means was able to add in the program's winter strength and conditioning work. He was among the lightest players on the roster and while that remans the case, Means is clearly about 10 pounds heavier, especially noticeable in his legs.

Though he always had a physical disposition and liked to use his hands at the line of scrimmage and did so effectively from a location and timing standpoint, he didn't have enough strength behind his strike and receivers were able to ward off against being dislodged as a result. That's not as easy now. As importantly, Means was easily washed out of plays when asked to overcome blocks in space last year, be it against the run or on screen and swing type passes. Getting off blocks was tough for him and limiting. That's still going to be a point of challenge moving forward but it's gone from a glaring deficiency to at least an area he's now competitive at.

When he's able to have success in the initial phase of a rep, Means tends to be a pretty solid man coverage corner. He has fluid hips and gets turned functionally and can run with receivers vertically on the wide side of the field. He's not a burner by any stretch but his technique has continued to improve as has his understanding of the game and he's a serviceable Pac-12 cornerback at this stage of his development, a legitimate competitor to Brown and others in the battle to start opposite Lloyd Carrington.

Projected depth chart status: This is a battle that should continue well into pre-season camp in August, particularly if Brown's knee issue lingers. Though Brown is bigger, stronger and an overall better athlete, he's not as consistent nor as refined in terms of coverage reliability and skill level. He'll need to show improvement and better predicability in order to ward off against Means becoming the team's starter here.

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