Arizona State coach Todd Graham said Thursday the conversion experiment of junior De'Chavon Hayes could lead to more game reps this week against Colorado.
Hayes, a running back and slot receiver while redshirting last season and through the first quarter of the 2015 schedule, has practiced on defense the last several weeks at cornerback.
"I think he'll play more in nickel than he is right now," Graham said. "I just want to make sure that he understands everything he's doing. Going and rushing the passer on defense is a little easier than playing in a secondary that runs 20 different coverages.
"He is flat gifted as a cover guy and one thing that's kind of surprised me is he's very natural and instinctive even though he's learning what he's doing. He's had a great attitude about it too. He's going to be really special. I wish I would have done that back in the spring or when he got there. He would be a lot further ahead."
Last week against UCLA, Hayes didn't play on offense but Graham said it's possible Hayes will play 10-15 reps on offense as well.
Wilson role could expand
When he arrived as a true freshman this year out of Valenia, Calif., it was expected that JayJay Wilson would play 3-back for the ASU offense, but some uncertainty with the team at Devil backer led to Wilson being examined in that role.
Wilson has yet to play on defense this year but has participated on multiple special teams units and several weeks ago started working with the tight end group again.
"We're working at it, he's doing a great job contributing on special teams," Graham said of Wilson. "He's on kickoff cover, kickoff return, we're getting him on punt, [punt block return] and then working to get him on punt. He's really valuable in those [units]. I think he's a guy who could help us before the year is out."
Following Thursday's practice, Wilson stayed after and took handoffs from ASU senior quarterback Mike Bercovici, a sign that he may be used in the backfield in some capacity. In high school the 250 pound Wilson got a lot of carries as a running back and was effective in the role. Short yardage and goal line situations may be a consideration.