Player Capsule: Tyler Whiley
Weight: 205 pounds
2015 season quick review: Whiley didn't see the field much as a redshirt freshman last season.
SunDevilSource.com analysis (08/2016): After bouncing around between positions, Whiley may have found at home at Spur in the last week or so. He arrived at ASU out of Scottsdale Chaparral High as a highly regarded two-way player who projected to either wide receiver or defensive back. Whiley practiced at both wide receiver and cornerback in his first couple years as a Sun Devil but didn't get much traction at either position.
As a cornerback, Whiley looked too heavy and not as mobile as necessary to play the position. He'd admitted to a weighing about 20 pounds more than his playing weight at Chaparral when he was playing the same positions. A thicker-bodied guy by nature, it was always going to be difficult for Whiley to not physically mature in a way that made playing cornerback a major challenge.
But this year Whiley said he cut weight to get to 200-205 pounds and also shed an attitude that was holding him back. When ASU coaches decided to take a look at him as a Spur -- which is sort of a hybrid defensive back-linebacker -- it seemed to click. It's a position that doesn't require quite as much speed or range as cornerback, but needs physicalness. Whiley has responded well to the challenge per ASU coaches, including getting interceptions in several practices in recent days, including one that he took for a touchdown Saturday in a scrimmage.
We've long believed that Whiley was going to have to transition to Bandit or Spur if he was going to remain on defense and be successful and ASU's decision to move him to Spur may be the thing that lets him reach his full potential as a player. He's going to have continue to develop quite a bit and show greater fluency of the scheme and a harder edge to playing against the run in the alley and as a blitzer. But he can fill the coverage role at Spur and has the ability to demonstrate the full skill-set over time.
Projected depth chart status: Whiley appears to be fighting junior Marcus Ball to become the team's starting Spur on base downs against non-pro style teams. It's a competition that likely sees both players on the field early this season and may take time to get sorted out. There's also a possibility that ASU could return Laiu Moeakiola to Spur at some point, a position he's been a multi-year starter at before the Sun Devils decided to slide him to deep safety this summer.