Player Capsule: Tyler McClure

Arizona State walk-on center Tyler McClure showed in the spring that he's legitimately in the running to be the starter at the position this season. Why? Here's our take.

Player Capsule: Tyler McClure

Position: Center

Eligibility: Junior

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 290 pounds

2015 season quick review: McClure didn't play during the season and hasn't yet in his three year career. At times he worked in practice with the second-team but in the event of an injury to starter Nick Kelly it's likely that Stephon McCray would have got the call off the bench. For the most part, McClure was still a scout team figure as a walk-on.

Offensive line coach Chris Thomsen on McClure: "Those guys get beat down on scout team all year and then bowl practice they get to show something and he played better than he probably ever has. But he was still probably 280 (pounds) so you wonder. But then [over the winter] we come back and all of a sudden he's 290. He's a super smart guy, a [biomedical engineering] student a well coached guy by Chris Chick (at Chandler) and did a great job with him getting a foundation. He knows our offense and has been here for three years so he'll get in there and compete for it." 

SunDevilSource.com analysis: We were surprised by McClure's overall competency in spring football from what we were able to observe -- and that wasn't much in the way of live 11-on-11 action, to be fully transparent. What became immediately apparent is that he has gone from a guy who wasn't quite up to Pac-12 interior offensive line size standards, even for a center, to someone who not only looks the part, but does so in an authentic way. He's not at all bloated or heavy with bad weight. Physically, he looks every bit the part of a Pac-12 scholarship center. McClure could be in line to be awarded a scholarship in mid-August. 

From a mobility standpoint, McClure is not deficient relative to the minimum Pac-12 threshold. Actually, a strong case could be made that he's a bit better athlete at his size and with better body composition than Kody Koebensky, who started for several years for the Sun Devils at center during at time when the offense had impressive overall success. Still, there is a lot to prove here against Pac-12 defensive coaches that do a great job scheming to exploit integrity question marks. Koebensky struggled with power at the point of attack and athleticism in his gap, particularly with linebacker pops and other quick hitting actions, and that's what we have to figure out at game speed against opposing teams as far as McClure's true capability. 

Functionally, he snaps the ball consistently and has pretty sound mechanics for a guy who hasn't played at this level, particularly a walk-on. He is poised in practice and appears to have the overall disposition and mental capacity to handle what is at worst the second most demanding role on the offense, behind quarterback. Does this hold up under the intense pressure of playing opponents and seeing things that are newer? There are many unknowns here that will only get answered in time, but there are no clear indications that McClure is in over his head at this stage. 

Projected depth chart status: McClure is in legitimate contention for the starting center position. He'll have to hold off junior college transfer A.J. McCollum, who wasn't able to practice with the Sun Devils in the spring. There's also a possibility that ASU coaches become enamored with the possibility of moving senior guard Stephon McCray to center if one or more current second-string players elevate their play enough in the spring to generate debate on the issue, with redshirt freshmen Zach Robertson and Steve Miller among those certainly having enough talent to make it a possibility. 


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