London Took the Road Less Traveled

An ancient Chinese proverb says the journey of 10,000 miles begins with a single step. For Arizona State Safety Maurice London, the journey to division one college football included a red-shirt year at a junior college, which eventually folded its program, a desperate search for a new school and two years playing football 3,000 miles from where he grew up. That's a lot of steps to say the lea

After spending time at Middle Georgia College and Grossmont Junior College (where former devil Brett Hudson and current corner Josh Golden hail from), the Atlanta native is now fully engulfed in the Sun Devil experience.

"I went to Middle Georgia to play football as a walk-on…. Went there one year and when I was ready to play, because I red-shirted my first year, they had to cancel football. It left me with nowhere to go. One of my coaches called Junior Colleges around the country and Grossmont (outside San Diego) said they were in need of a safety. So I took that chance and ended up doing well and came here."

After being named a JuCo All-American in 2003 at Grossmont, London enrolled in classes at ASU last spring looking to make an impact as a Sun Devil in 2004. After spring ball was through, London was stuck on the sideline in the middle of the safety bunch behind the likes of Riccardo Stewart. London wasn't used to the scenario, but did heed advice from the man ahead of him. "The player who has helped me out the most here has been Ricardo Stewart," London raved, "He's helped me and guided me through everything, showed me all the little things I didn't know and told me what I needed to do to get better."

Despite the early disappointment, London relied on his work ethic and looked wherever he could to make a contribution early on. "I'm a hard worker," said London, who is listed at 6'0 but stands closer to 5'10", "I expect to do good every time I get on the field. I had to learn from my mistakes by watching film and try to get better. Everybody expected me to work hard and be there to do my job when I was supposed to, special teams and everything… it all adds up."

The hard work finally added up to more playing time for London. This past Saturday in the Devils stirring 48-42 win over Pac-10 foe UCLA, the Devils depleted secondary was without starter Riccardo Stewart to a shoulder injury, and saw his replacement Josh Barrett limp off early.

In stepped London. Seeing his most significant time of the year, London was in on 7 tackles, including 2 solo. He also forced a fumble on the game's most bizarre play.

Leading 28-20 with over 8 minutes left in the third quarter, Bruins back Manuel White scrambled 55 yards down the sideline before being stripped of the ball by London. With the ball flung back into play, and no Sun Devil trailing, UCLA receiver Tab Perry picked it up and scampered in for the final 12 yards. London's laid back attitude was tested but he simply says, "That's football."

With 4 games still left on the schedule, London looks to see more time after stepping up against UCLA. He possesses the size, strength and agility (which he credits to playing high school tennis), to make an impact on the field.

This week at 7th ranked California, London and his defensive teammates will need all those attributes in order to slow down the nation's second ranked offense, averaging better than 500 yards per game.

"They're a pretty good team, a hard working team. They can run the ball and they can pass the ball… I don't see any big advantage though if we go out there and do our job everything will fall into place."

While it may have taken London a few extra steps to get on the right path, the road from here on out should be a much smoother one.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories