The Arizona State Sun Devils have a big hole to fill on their defensive line with the graduation of Marcus Hardison, who led the team with 10 sacks last season.
Despite the loss of a playmaker like him, ESPN.com’s PAC-12 blogger Chantel Jennings thinks the Devils’ D-line will be in “good shape” this season.
Expect coach Todd Graham to lean heavily on Tashon Smallwood to be an athletic pass-rusher/playmaker for the Sun Devils. Beyond Smallwood, Graham will also have Demetrius Cherry, Edmond Boateng and Mo Latu. The four combined for 11.5 tackles for a loss, including 4.5 sacks in 2014. This group needs to step up considering it lost Marcus Hardison (15 TFL, 10 sacks), but it has good talent and decent depth. The Pac-12 Blog thinks ASU should be fine.
Last season, ASU’s defense ranked fourth in the Pac-12 with 39 sacks and tied for third with 13 fumble recoveries.
Cherry and Latu are returning seniors, while Boateng is a redhsirt junior. The trio only missed one game between them last season, and will provide the experience that the sophomore Smallwood will need to continue his development.