Harry, Robinson in line to play as freshmen

Arizona State signed some high profile recruits out of the high school ranks in the 2016 class and at least several will play roles with the team immediately.

It won't be a surprise when N'Keal Harry lines up and runs the first route of his college career in Arizona State's season opener against Northern Arizona on Sept. 3. 

At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Harry isn't your typical freshman wide receiver.

As the highest rated high school recruit in ASU's 2016 class, much is expected of Harry, particularly since he's from just down the road at Chandler High School.

During portions of practice open to reporters, Harry is the only member of the freshman class who has at times played with the first-team offense. He probably won't start in the season-opener, with senior Tim White, juniors Cameron Smith and Ellis Jefferson as well as redshirt freshman Jalen Harvey all playing more with the top group in practice this month. 

But Harry will be out there as well, that much you can bet on. From there, it's going to be a matter of him showing what he's capable of. 

"I've learned a lot from them (veterans), so far," Harry said early in preseason camp. "It's really not like high school, you gotta be a lot more technical, use your hands, make sure your routes are crisp, paying attention to detail and following an example.

"I'm here to play, but I just got to prove that I can play and I belong out there with all these guys like Tim (White), Ellis (Jefferson), Jalen (Harvey) and all of them."

Harry isn't the only true freshmen who will see the field this year for the Sun Devils. 

Robbie Robinson, a 5-foot-8, 172 pound defensive back from Hampton, Virginia, is battling to be a starter for the Sun Devils in their nickel package. He's also primarily worked with the second-team at boundary cornerback with the base defense.

The Dematha Catholic High School product has made a big impression right out of the gate for his toughness and coverage skills. 

"The first couple days were really fast just adjusting from high school to here," Robinson said, "but after a few practices, a few reps, I kind of got things down and adjusted to it and after that it's competing and doing your best coming out here and doing what you know, what you're taught.

"[Coaches] feel like I have a great chance to play this year. I've been really consistent, know my assignments, things like that. But just keep competing, keep working every day, keep working harder, be better than you were yesterday."

The Sun Devils are coming off a season in which they finished with a nation-worst passing defense. But they'll have a much different look this season from a personnel standpoint, with Robinson one of the new prominent faces. He feels he's up to the task, and as a cornerback, that's an essential element of success. 

"Playing corner you always have to have supreme confidence," Robinson said. "That's one of the biggest things. All you have is your technique and your confidence on an island. I'm here for a reason. They didn't give you a scholarship because you're not good. Just trust what you know, trust your technique and add what you learn here to your arsenal and you'll be fine."

A few other true freshmen remain in contention for playing time this season as well.

Offensive linemen Cohl Cabral, 6-foot-5, 286 pounds, has taken reps with the second-team at center and left tackle. He's also been the predominant first-team long-snapper with Mitchell Fraboni on the sidelines due to an undisclosed injury.

It's possible Cabral is the snapper against NAU if Fraboni isn't ready to go. He's also one of the top backup options along the offensive line, even as a first-year player out of Los Osos High in Rancho Cucamonga, California. A redshirt year might really benefit Cabral and the Sun Devils late in his career because he's quite athletic and mobile for his size, with impressive flexibility, but it may not be possible. 

Wide receiver Kyle Williams has made a positive impression as a slot receiver and could have a future as a punt returner. He's physically well constructed for a true freshman and is quick-footed off the line of scrimmage. He's seemingly competing with senior Frederick Gammage for the spot behind White. 

Chase Lucas, Harry's former teammate at Chandler, has shown hints of future standout play as a defensive back in his first few weeks as a Sun Devil. Despite being thin and needing to add size at 6-foot-0 and 156 pounds, Lucas has played with a physical edge. 

It's probably a bit more likely than not that Lucas redshirts, but if anyone falters in the ASU secondary, the former four-star Scout300 recruit is a legitimate option to step into the lineup at cornerback. 

If anyone else has a chance to play among the 2016 freshmen newcomers it's quarterback Dillon Sterling-Cole, currently No. 3 on the depth chart at the position. Sterling-Cole has very good size and a big arm, but is likely to redshirt baring injuries or shortcomings ahead of him at the position. 


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