Player capsule: Ellis Jefferson

Third year sophomore Ellis Jefferson is hoping to parlay a close relationship with senior quarterback Mike Bercovici -- the two are housemates -- into a more significant role as a playmaker for Arizona State in 2015.

Player Capsule: Ellis Jefferson

Position: Wide Receiver

Eligibility: Sophomore

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 211 pounds

2014 season quick review: A reserve who finished the season with 11 catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns as one of the backup options to now-departed star boundary side wide receiver Jaelen Strong, Jefferson had four catches for 37 yards and a touchdown against Weber State. It seemed to hint of more to follow but Jefferson was not much of a factor in his redshirt freshman season.

Wide Receivers Coach Del Alexander: "In terms of movement, he was a nine (boundary side receiver) behind Jaelen and everything Jaelen did, Ellis is capable of doing or has learned as far as having played in all the spots you would have seen Jaelen play in. What he's capable of is playing in those spots, but he is the nine (boundary) receiver and formation-wise is where you may have trouble trying to figure out who is who and what is what, because with the talent we have, we have to be creative in making sure people are in the right spot to do what they're best at. It's not just the plays, but really detailed in terms of the formations and how you use players.

SunDevilSource.com analysis: Jefferson has had a tendency to come out of the gate with a full head of steam to start preseason and spring practices through two full years in Tempe only to sort of gradually peter out. Sustaining his level of energy and productivity even when worn down or banged up are going to be essential to Jefferson expanding his role and perhaps becoming a starter and heavily relied upon player for Arizona State.

From a pure talent standpoint, Jefferson is one of the best prospects at the position group on the ASU roster. He's 6-foot-4 and 211 pounds and makes a lot of plays on the football with his big hands extended out from his body. There really isn't a huge difference from Strong to Jefferson when looking at size, route running and athleticism, but Strong just was a big time playmaker and Jefferson is someone whose potential hints at that, but it's thus far unrealized.

Jefferson has to continue to get better at being physical enough at the line of scrimmage to ward off cornerbacks who try to get into him physically. He's too big for that, and has to use his length better and show more strength and violence against press and bump techniques. When he's able to get into his route more freely, Jefferson makes a lot of plays in practice. Against off coverage he is much better right now, but opponents know that too.

Projected depth chart status: This is a big opportunity and critical year for Jefferson. One of his housemates, senior Mike Bercovici, is ASU's starting quarterback and the two have a very comfortable rapport. Jefferson has to take monopolize that. The Sun Devils added post-graduate transfer Devin Lucien from UCLA, and odds are Lucien and Foster will be the team's starting outside receivers, but Jefferson has to try to beat out everyone else who can play the boundary side position, especially junior Eric Lauderdale and incoming true freshman Terrell Chatman. Jefferson is also capable of playing the backup five receiver position behind senior Gary Chambers.


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