ARIZONA STATE FOOTBALL

ASU’s Jayden Daniels excited about 2nd year under OC Zak Hill

Aug 4, 2021, 3:35 PM
Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) drops back to pass during the first half of an NCAA co...

Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) drops back to pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore., Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

(AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

After playing just four games last season, Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels is chomping at the bit to show how much improvement he has made.

Daniels has high expectations after being placed on the preseason watch lists for several awards, including the Maxwell Award for most outstanding player.

He will have to prove he belongs on those lists after playing in limited action a year ago.

“Improving body-wise, physically, mentally, taking my game to another level. I feel like I took that big step from last year to this year and today I felt like it showed,” Daniels said after the team’s first practice.

There is also the complication of mastering the nuances implemented by second-year offensive coordinator Zak Hill.

“I mean, you can see just the growth from last year to this year in the offense. It’s a little more comfortable to be able to go out there and check the plays and do other things,” Daniels said. “It just came through building that relationship with Coach Hill over the spring.”

Daniels said he and Hill talk daily.

“We talk to each other about what I can do better,” Daniels said.

“He’s going to call plays but at the end of the day, it’s up to me to make the plays right.”

Making plays right means finding the right pass catcher.

Over the past three seasons, ASU has had three wide receivers drafted into the NFL. Now they look to replace N’Keal Harry, Brandon Aiyuk and Frank Darby.

“I feel like Ricky Pearsall will have a big year. Johnny Wilson, I just feel like those guys are bound to have a breakout year just with their work ethic with the way they approached the offeseason,” Daniels said. “Johnny put on like 12 pounds.”

Other options that could be in the mix are redshirt freshmen LV Bunkley-Shelton, Chad Johnson Jr., son of former NFL star Chad Johnson, along with redshirt sophomore Andre Johnson.

However, this early into camp, Daniels is relying on his veteran guys while the younger group gets acclimated to the system and weather.

“I tell them ‘just stack those days’ and I feel like we will see some big plays from Bryan Thompson and Geordon Porter,” Daniels said.

STACKING DAYS

The Sun Devils began practice at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. The temperature at 8:51 a.m. in Tempe was recorded at 97 degrees.

“It’s not easy going out there practicing in that heat,” Daniels said. “It’s just building each and every day.”

“It’s just about building that foundation and stacking these days.”

Daniels knows it can take a toll quickly on some of the young players.

“I know a couple of guys, it’s tired, it’s their first day, it’s hot, so they are trying to adjust to the heat, adjust to practice,” Daniels said. “For the young guys, it’s their first full camp so they don’t really know how it is just going through it each and every day, stacking days.”

The Sun Devils are building to their first game on Thursday, Sept. 2 against Southern Utah.

Penguin Air

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona State Football

New England Patriots cornerback Jack Jones (13) returns an interception 40-yards for a touchdown du...
Jordan Leandre

PFF names former ASU cornerback Jack Jones defensive player of the week

Patriots cornerback and ASU alumnus Jack Jones won Pro Football Focus' defensive player of the week in his first NFL start.
2 days ago
Michael Penix Jr. #9 of the Washington Huskies throws against the UCLA Bruins in the first quarter ...
Jake Anderson

ASU’s defense in for toughest test yet vs. Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.

Washington boasts one of the best offenses in the country, ranking No. 7 in total yards per game (506.6) and No. 12 in points per game (41.6).
23 hours ago
Jordan Addison #3 of the USC Trojans rushes after catching a pass against Kyle Soelle #34 of the Ar...
Associated Press

ASU football puts up good fight in loss to No. 6 USC

ASU had multiple opportunities to take the lead in the third quarter before No. 6 USC pulled away for the win.
3 days ago
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 01: Jordan Addison #3 of the USC Trojans rushes as Timarcus Davis #7 of t...
Jake Anderson

USC’s Caleb Williams throws 1st INT of season to ASU’s Timarcus Davis

Saturday night was full of firsts at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum in the Arizona State Sun Devils' 42-25 loss to the No. 6 USC Trojans.
3 days ago
Arizona State fullback Case Hatch (44) rushes forward as quarterback Emory Jones (5) hands off to r...
Jake Anderson

ASU’s Emory Jones throws, rushes for 2 TDs in 1st half vs. No. 6 USC

The Arizona State Sun Devils did something on Saturday night against the No. 6 USC Trojans that they hadn't all season.
3 days ago
Quarterback Jayden de Laura #7 of the Arizona Wildcats warms up during pregame warm ups prior to th...
Arizona Sports

Wildcats favored against CU, Sun Devils underdogs vs. USC in Week 5

Sportsbooks do not see the Arizona Wildcats and Arizona State Sun Devils competing in particularly close games Saturday evening. 
4 days ago
ASU’s Jayden Daniels excited about 2nd year under OC Zak Hill