Ideal scholarship roster number: 11-12
* Perry could potentially play Bandit next year with Orr at field safety. Hayes has practiced primarily at field corner.
Likely returning number: 5
Remaining ideal number: 1-2
Top remaining targets: None.
Super Skinny: Getting faster and more athletic on the back end is an essential aspect of ASU's recruiting efforts this off-season and moving into the future. The Sun Devils lose both starting cornerbacks from this season -- with regard to Kweishi Brown that isn't necessarily a bad thing -- and had inexperience hurt at field safety and with depth in the secondary in general this season. Anticipating this need to add numbers and talent, ASU has already taken commitments from four players, inculding two junior college mid-year recruits with size, range and versatility. Four-star J'Marcus Rhodes and Maurice Chandler are big corners who can also potentially play field safety. Scout300 in-state standout Chase Lucas hasn't played much defense but can project to three or four positions in the secondary and was well reviewed on defense in the U.S. Army All-American week. Robbie Robinson is undersized but tenacious, with great hips and change of direction. Even with four on board, ASU is a bit light on numbes here heading into 2016. Local Saguaro star Byron Murphy would have made this a grand slam secondary glass for ASU but his decision to commit to Washington still leaves the Sun Devils with a good class at cornerback/field safety and it appears to be done.
Ideal Scholarship Roster Number: 6-7
*Armand Perry could potentially shift from field safety to Bandit if ASU wants to start Orr and Perry together next year.
Likely Returning Number: 5-6
2016 Commitments: None
Remaining Ideal Number: 1-2
Super Skinny: Starter Laiu Moeakiola will return for his senior season in 2016 at Spur but Moeakiola has played most of this year at less than full strength with a holdover shoulder injury from last season that he hurt again versus Washington. Out of everyone else the Sun Devils have tried here -- James Johnson, Marcus Ball, Das Tautalatasi and De'Andre Scott -- they need to find one player who is capable of playing without as much drop off. Ball had what was perhaps a career-building performance in the second half against Washington and Johnson is a good multi-purpose reserve. ASU should take one 2016 recruit here to help it hedge its bets on reserve talent, with Calvin Bundage being a prototype high end Spur and Kamari Pleasant a sleeper it likes a lot. At Bandit, Jordan Simone will depart and may have played his last game after a knee injury Saturday. Johnson could fill this role and not be less of a coverage player and good against the run. A real possibility is ASU looks at playing Armand Perry and Kareem Orr together at the two safety positions if it feels it doesn't need to move Orr to cornerback. Lamar Jackson looks like a Bandit who could play elsewhere as well.
Ideal scholarship roster number: 6-7
* Lawal could also play Devil backer on base downs or as a sub-package pass rusher. Wilson has been working at 3-back/tight end recently but can also play inside linebacker.
Likely returning number: 6-7
2016 commitments: None
Remaining ideal number: 0
Top remaining targets: None
Super Skinny: The Sun Devils return three starter-caliber players at inside linebacker, two of whom have more than one remaining year of eligibility, as well as three players who were freshmen in terms of eligibility. This is one of their best positions of strength on the roster projecting into the future, especially if Khaylan Thomas works out as expected. They need to load up elsewhere on defense and can afford to not take a commitment in this class at inside linebacker, and are likely done here unless a high profile prospect makes himself available.
Ideal scholarship roster number: 3-4
Likely returning number: 2-3
2016 commitments: 1 (Dougladson Subtyl)
Remaining ideal number: 0-1
Super Skinny: With the addition of 2016 commit Dougladson Subtyl, arguably the top pass rusher in California's junior college ranks, ASU is in pretty good shape at Devil backer even with starter Antonio Longino leaving after this season. Redshirt freshman Ismael Murphy-Richardson is a natural Devil backer who has played increasingly well this season and Bo Wallace is a very promising Devil backer who is redshirting this season. The Sun Devils will probably move one or both of A.J. Latu and/or Chans Cox to field end, where they've each worked at times, but their pathway to playing time anywhere is difficult to say the least. ASU doesn't need another addition to the 2016 class at Devil but it's one of those positions at which turning down a perceived impact player isn't a good idea and so it continues to recruit Koron Crump and Quayshon Alexander. Also, Crump is a terrific and versatile athlete who could play as a sub-package pass rusher at a position other than Devil.
Ideal scholarship roster number: 11-12
Potential returning number: (Viliami Latu, Tashon Smallwood, Joseph Wicker, Edmond Boateng, Renell Wren, Corey Smith, Emanuel Dayries, George Lea, Deonte Reynolds, Jalen Bates*, Alani Latu*, Chans Cox*)
*Bates could play Devil but is an ideal end long-term. Alani Latu and Chans Cox could move to end.
Likely returning number: 10-11
2016 commitments: 1 (Christian Hill)
Remaining ideal number: 1-2
Super Skinny: ASU's got three starter-quality defensive linemen returning next season, two of whom have more than one season of eligibility remaining, Tashon Smallwood and Joseph Wicker. Others, specifically Renell Wren, George Lea and Jalen Bates, have impressive potential. This is one position group at which you want to really be deep because it's the group that rotates and has the most number of its scholarship players see the field in a given season. So even though ASU's not in bad shape numbers-wise and has junior college defensive end Christian Hill in the fold, it will not turn down a defensive linemen it really covets, with Jonathan Kongbo and Levi Onwuzurike very well suited to play end. Missouri commit Tre Williams is a potential flip target as a big-framed defensive end long-term play and Arkansas commit Briston Guidry a good fit for a tackle position.
Only five of ASU's 15 currently 2016 commits project as defensive players and it will probably wind up with 10-11 total when it is finished. The biggest need remains in the secondary even though that's where the Sun Devils already have three commits. They don't need much more help at linebacker or Devil Backer, and probably only will take one or two more defensive linemen. If they can lock up Byron Murphy and one other athletic defensive back to go along with one more defensive linemen they really like, this will be a solid defensive class.