Player capsule: Stephon McCray

Stephon McCray played a valuable role for Arizona State as a sophomore in 2014, coming off the bench to play well on the offensive line interior.

Player Capsule: Stephon McCray

Position: Offensive Guard

Eligibility: Junior

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 317 pounds

2014 season quick review: An important reserve, McCray was the first guard or center off the bench for Arizona State when someone was forced out of action due to injury. He started one game and played in eight overall, performing admirably for someone with essentially no prior game experience

Offensive line coach Chris Thomsen: "The way he run blocked against Utah, he did a great job. He's probably, in the lower body, our most flexible guy, able to bend and gain leverage, but pass pro is where he got beat some. Whether it was Utah, they put No. 8 (Nate) Orchard -- he didn't have a whole lot of success against Jamil (Douglas) -- and they bumped him down to Stephon later in the game and got to us. We tried to do some double team stuff and they starting blitzing, they did a good job to get him one on one and they got after him a couple times. Then Arizona, once Nick went out they got Scooby Wright on him a couple times, you know, at this level they're going to figure out how to expose you.

" He did do some good things at pass pro, but that's where he's gotta get stronger and be able to handle himself. He's got really long arms which helps him a lot because he can fend him off but he's gotta have a little more pop with it. But I'm excited that he's able to go through the spring. I tell you what he did against Arizona, that's the first time he snapped a ball in a game, he's done it in practice but to go in to that type of environment, that kind of pressure."

SunDevilSource.com analysis: McCray plays with an edge and relishes close physical combat and especially finishing run blocks inside the box. It's clear he enjoys playing the game and wants to try to impose himself on defensive players. Just like starting guard Vi Teofilo, McCray is better and more natural against the run than pass. Teofilo improved with his pass pro as he gained more starting experience and that's what McCray is trying to do now even though he hasn't had nearly as much playing time.

Though just 6-foot-2, McCray has a lot of heft -- listed at 317 pounds -- and uses his size and very good flexibility to gain leverage as a run blocker, accessing his power muscles more efficiently than a lot of linemen are able to. ASU's scheme requires a lot of run outs into space by offensive lineman looking for range blocks, and McCray has moderate range, not as spry as some others have been, but not a liability either.

McCray will be well served to continue working toward improving his overall physical conditioning and re-shaping his physique. He carries a bit too much weight through the trunk and not as much as would be ideal in his upper body and arms. Endurance is a question mark, as he's tended to wear down and not have as much potency. In pass engagement McCray uses his long arms relatively well but sometimes he can get jostled around a bit by heavier defensive tackles and so adding more strength would be beneficial.

Handling speed better in his gap and having better blitz anticipation are probably the areas where McCray can most improve from a football savvy and skill standpoint. Smaller, quicker pass rushers and stunts have given him problems at times and that's something to watch moving forward if he's called into action against a defense that has the personnel and play calling to try to advantage it.

Projected depth chart status: If ASU keeps Christian Westerman inside at guard and Vi Teofilo is fully healthy coming back from his ACL tear, odds are good McCray reprises his role from last season as the team's primary interior reserve. But it's possible if McCray has a great pre-season camp in August and right tackle Billy McGehee does not, ASU could slide Westerman to tackle and McCray into the starting lineup at guard in an effort to get the best five players on the field together. He provides the team a lot of flexibility.


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