Arizona State's Graham praises performance of Strong, linebackers
Jaelen Strong stepped up against Sacramento State, catching six passes for 58 yards and a score while also proving he has the size and hands to become a reliable third-down and red-zone target for quarterback Taylor Kelly. Strong, a junior college transfer, also impressed Graham.
"I thought he had a really solid first game," Graham said in his weekly press conference, adding that he's a fan of Strong's attitude. "Somewhere around the middle of the fourth quarter, he stopped me on the sideline and said ‘Coach, I just want to thank you for bringing me here and giving me this opportunity.' I have got a lot of respect for the character and the work ethic he has."
Graham went on to say that Strong will continue to grow and get better as he gets used to the pace of the offense.
On the other side of the ball, Graham seemed really happy with the performance of redshirt freshman LB Salamo Fiso.
"I really think Salamo is probably the guy that catches my eye more than anybody else at linebacker," Graham said. "As soon as he matures and learns what he is doing and masters what he is doing, he is a very good player."
Graham also praised senior LBs Chris Young, who was expected to fill Magee's role before the year, and Grandville Taylor, who Graham said continually impresses with his performance.
"He is a very physical person," Graham said of Taylor. "He is very smart, he doesn't make mistakes. He is a guy who really cares about doing things the right."
The linebacking corps will be tested against the Wisconsin running game, which is averaging 390 yards per game.
The teams face off on September 14 at Sun Devil Stadium.
- Sun Devils hold Pro Day in front of big NFL contingent
- ASU head coach Todd Graham not concerned about loss of talent on defense
- NFL Draft '14: Recapping Arizona's Pro Day and looking ahead to ASU's
- NFL analyst on ASU DT Will Sutton: 'He's going to be a player in the NFL'
- Maybe defenses do need a break from fast-paced O
- Bill Frieder, former Arizona State basketball head coach - Friday March 7Bill Frieder discusses the state of ASU basketball, and what should the NBA do about the draft age t
- Eric Musselman, ASU basketball associate head coac - Friday March 7Eric Musselman talks about his relationship with Gerald Green, his thoughts on Jahii Carson's seaso
- Todd Graham, ASU Football Head Coach - Friday March 7What's the state of ASU Football?
- Stewart Mandel, SI.com college football writer - Thursday March 6Stewart Mandel talks about why the proposed rule to limit hurry up offenses in college football was
- Ray Anderson, ASU Athletic Director - Wednesday March 5Ray Anderson talks all things ASU with Dan and Vince.