Newcomer watch: Who will see the field?

Which newcomers are most likely to see the field this season for Arizona State? We rank them all here entering preseason camp and will re-visit the subject several times as the month unfolds.

Please keep in mind as you read this, it is in order of which players are most to least likely to get at least one in-game rep for the Sun Devils in the 2015 season. This is not a ranking of the newcomers expected to make the biggest impact this season or in their overall college career. We'll have a separate look at which newcomers could play the most significant roles.

Will play this season

1. Devin Lucien -- A fifth-year post-graduate transfer from UCLA, Lucien is the leading candidate to start at ASU's boundary side wide receiver position. He'll definitely play.

2. Raymond Epps -- He's a three to play three player out of the junior college ranks and ASU is thin at tight end, so Epps will play. He's a long way from displaying high level competency, but he's going to be on the field at least some.

3. Tim White -- A redshirt junior, White doesn't have a redshirt year at his disposal and it probably wouldn't matter anyway as ASU is going to give him plenty of opportunity to be in the wide receiver rotation. He's lean and could use additional size and strength, but White's immediately one of the most athletic players on the roster and could end up behind D.J. Foster at the field-side receivers spot.

4. Joseph Wicker -- Despite being a true freshman, Wicker is listed second already on the ASU depth chart at the 3-technique tackle position. With the status of George Lea uncertain -- Lea will likely start the season suspended -- due to an off-season arrest, Wicker is very likely to see the field a lot, especially with defensive line being the position group that rotates most.

Likely to play this season

5. Thomas Hudson -- ASU is thin on scholarship bodies at the tight end position, especially guys who can play the in-line position and Hudson arrived on campus as the biggest and heaviest player at the position group on the roster. That alone puts him in strong contention to see his way on the field, particularly as ASU likes to be able to put three on the field together, and these guys have had a tendency to get banged up in the ASU scheme. Hudson could also be a special teams guy.

6. Nick Ralston -- Ralston is someone who could serve a role for the Sun Devils even though he's likely to not play a ton of reps. We saw in the spring he is a good fit as a fullback type player -- someone who can lead block, catch the ball out of the backfield, and be a short yardage ball carrier. He may remind some of the fullbacks at ASU from a decade or two ago, like Mike Karney or Jeff Paulk. There's probably not a lot of difference between him now and a year from now, so might as well get him on the field, especially given his skill set. He's also a special teams candidate.

7. Jay Jay Wilson -- As a 3-back option, Wilson has a lot of potential. He's a very good athlete and is already pretty physical and well put together. The Sun Devils don't have a lot of options here and Wilson is battling Epps and sophomore Grant Martinez, neither of whom is firmly established from a production standpoint. That means he's got a chance to be on the field, especially because he's the type of guy who could be a special teams player.

8. Deonte Reynolds -- He's going to be a late arriving player and has a redshirt year available, so it's not a foregone conclusion that Reynolds will see the field. We'll have to see what kind of shape he's in and how quickly he's able to get up to speed. But defensive tackle is a position at which five or six guys probably see the field and Reynolds has a good shot at being one of them. If not, he's probably headed for a redshirt year in the way Demetrius Cherry did out of the junior college ranks.

Decent chance to play this season

9. Kareem Orr -- Though they have three seniors, the Sun Devils aren't particularly deep at cornerback, especially if sophomore Armand Perry stays at safety. Orr could very conceivably be the third or fourth cornerback option by the time the season rolls around, and that's assuming everyone stays healthy. Sophomore Ronald Lewis in particular is susceptible to a competition for the fourth spot here.

10. Jason Lewis -- If Lewis had been on ASU's campus early in the summer like a lot of players he would be higher on this list. Like Wilson and Terrell Chatman, he's a great looking freshman. He also has versatility as an offensive back who can play different roles. That helps his chance of seeing the field, so it's very possible he could carve out a role of some kind, whether that's as a bigger ball carrier or receiving/blocking option.

11. Terrell Chatman -- Physically, Chatman has impressive tools and he's made a positive impression on players and support staff with his workouts this summer. There's a real possibility Chatman could beat out someone and play his way onto the field, most likely at the boundary side position behind Lucien or the slot position behind Gary Chambers.

12. Steve Miller -- Freshmen offensive linemen rarely come in ready to play but Miller is a good looking 315 pounds and already had the spring to acclimate. He's probably one or two offensive line injuries from being a legitimate candidate for playing time, so it can't be ruled out.

Outside possibility to play this season

13. Zach Robertson -- Part of this will come down to conditioning, as Robertson may have been a bit heavier than desired upon arrival at ASU. If he's in good shape, he's talented enough to compete at left tackle, particularly if junior Evan Goodman's hamstring issue from the string isn't totally resolved. If redshirt freshman Sam Jones pushes past senior Billy McGehee at right tackle, it's not inconceivable Robertson ends up the No. 3 tackle if he has a great camp. He is a very physical, high upside player. He could be someone who moves a lot on this list either way depending on conditioning and how others do.

14. Khaylan Thomas -- Odds are good Thomas redshirts, but if if either junior Viliami Moeakiola or sophomore Marcus Ball get knocked out of the lineup, Thomas could be in the two-deep if he's perceived as a better option to ASU moving one of the other linebackers with Spur experience. Sophomores Christian Sam and D.J. Calhoun junior Carlos Mendoza have all played the position. Thomas reminds us a bit of a Chris Young type of Spur, though not as heavy.

15. Bo Wallace -- Wallace is unlikely to play, especially because he's another late arriving player to Tempe. But Todd Graham has shown that he's willing to throw a lot of guys into the fire at key defensive positions like Devil, and this is a very unsettled spot entering camp. Wallace is a lanky athlete who should eventually be a pressure option, and if he displayed that from the get go, he can't be ruled out as a playing option.

16. Malik Lawal -- This is the guy whose film probably reminds us most of Carl Bradford since Bradford set the Devil backer mold at ASU in Graham's first two years. Lawal is shorter and explosive and strong. But he's coming off an ACL injury, so that's a question mark.

Very likely to redshirt this season

17. Brady White -- Ideally ASU would redshirt both of its incoming freshmen quarterbacks and we expect that's what will happen. The only caveat here is if Mike Bercovici is hurt. There's no reason for ASU to burn a redshirt year for mop up duty. But if its starter goes down, then the next quarterback will be whomever is considered the second best at the end of August. Sophomore Manny Wilkins didn't separate clearly from White in the spring to our eye, so this competition will continue.

18. Jalen Bates -- This will be a good year for Bates to grow into his terrific frame. He's a 'tweener right now, in the middle of a Devil and defensive end. Eventually we suspect Bates will be a 270 pound end. In a year he may be one of ASU's best looking defensive players on the hoof.

19. Dillon Faamatau -- An offensive linemen, Faamatau could possibly play his way out of a redshirt year if the Sun Devils decide to use him as a big extra blocker. A lot of teams are essentially playing a sixth offensive linemen as an in-line tight end option and Faamatau has experience at tight end, so this can't be ruled out. If not, he'll be redshirted. He'll fly up this list if that's something ASU looks at seriously in the next couple weeks.

20. Bryce Perkins -- We think Perkins has as high of a ceiling as Brady White given his size and athletic attributes as well as his incredible rate of improvement over the last two years, but have him lower than White here only because White had the spring practice schedule to learn the system and assimilate and Perkins did not.

21. Cade Cote -- ASU's offensive line is relatively deep and talented so there's no reason to think Cote will see the field. It's not a rotation position and not one that true freshmen tend to play. This is about as sure a redshirt as there is on the team, along with...

22. Mason Walter -- Walter's in the same situation as Cote. We put Cote ahead of Walter because Cote can play guard, center and tackle and Walter projects as more of a tackle. So there's just a versatility edge with Cote. Neither is playing unless there are catastrophic injuries across ASU's front.

Editor's note: Freshman defensive tackle George Lea is unranked because of the uncertainty of his status following his off-season arrest. He was in line to likely play at the 3-technique tackle position but is likely facing suspension for at least part of this season.


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