Ishmael Glad to be Thrown Back to Action

For Ishmael Thrower this year was supposed to be his last in the maroon and gold. In his first year transferring from Sacramento City College, he played in only two games before succumbing to a hamstring injury. Redshirted and rejuvenated, the defensive end told DevilsDigest that he's finally healthy and ready to and help his team realize their dreams.

A long year on the sidelines ended last Saturday when Thrower was inserted at defensive end and played over 30 snaps against NAU. "It was great to get out there and play;" said the junior. "It was fun running around and doing some things. I was a little nervous before the game but once I got in there I wasn't nervous. I just wanted to make some plays."

Thrower critiqued his own play as a bag of mixed goods. "I think I ran around and played with good tempo," he said. "I ran to the ball good and made a couple of plays. I had two solo tackles and one assist…there are always some things I can work on. I missed a couple of tackles so I have to improve on that." The defensive end was happy that he had a tackle for a loss because: "that's the closest thing to a sack (smile)."

The former Sacramento City College standout was recruited as a defensive end. Due to his 6-1 229 stature, he was moved back linebacker where he played briefly last season. This season the coaches decided to move him back upfront, a move which he embraces. "I'm more comfortable playing at defensive end where I can use my speed. But I just want to help my teammates, so as long as I can be on the field I don't care where I play." Whether it's at defensive end or linebacker, Thrower says that some aspects in the transition from the junior college level to the division I level don't change. "The size and the speed of the people you go against is different. The offensive linemen are bigger and more athletic, and you have to adjust to that."

Redshirting to gain experience is quite different than redshirting due to injury. Thrower learned that quickly when he suddenly found himself in an unfamiliar position. "Sitting out with the injury was pretty hard," he recalled. "I have never been the type of person to be hurt. But everybody gets injured sometimes, and thank god I was able to recover. It was hard on me not to be able to go out and play. Being on the sidelines and redshirting gave me the fire to work hard so I can get better and help my teammates." While on the sidelines, he saw his close friend and former Sacramento City College teammate Shane Jones have a fine year at defensive tackle. Did that make his redshirt year easier or harder? "It was easy," exclaims Thrower. "I have nothing but love for Shane. He's my boy. I am always going to back him up no matter what I am doing. I am behind him 100%."

In preparing for ASU's next opponent Utah State, Thrower said that the defensive line is going to work hard, learn from its mistakes, and get after the Aggie backfield. When it comes to his personal goals Thrower is pragmatic in his wishes. "Get a lot of sacks and help our team get to the Rose Bowl." On Saturday, he will take another step towards fulfilling his wishes for the team and himself.

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