ASU RB Valladay, QB Jones chose Sun Devils for community and fit

Sep 8, 2022, 10:25 AM | Updated: 11:46 am
Arizona State quarterback Emory Jones (5) looks to pass while being pressured by Northern Arizona d...

Arizona State quarterback Emory Jones (5) looks to pass while being pressured by Northern Arizona defensive lineman Mark Ho Ching during the second half of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Arizona State Sun Devils started strong by defeating Northern Arizona in Week 1, with a lot of production coming from transfers in quarterback Emory Jones and running back Xazavian Valladay.

Jones and Valladay came into Tempe ready to shine knowing that the Sun Devils had a large portion of their production leave last year either to the NFL Draft or in the transfer portal. Not to mention an ongoing NCAA investigation looming over a coaching staff hit with turnover.

On Wednesday’s episode of All Aboard with Herm Edwards, the starting quarterback-running back tandem spoke to what stood out at ASU despite the turmoil.

“When I started thinking about the transfer portal, I honestly wanted to take my talents to a bigger stage,” said Valladay, who made a name for himself at Wyoming before transferring. “Definitely wanted to be in an environment where I can compete with some of the best guys that come from all over football.”

“Just one of the bigger chances and bigger stages, just to be able to display my talents and help a football team that was in need of a running back.”

Jones had a different perspective. A quarterback for the SEC’s Florida Gators for four years, he used a fresh start to keep improving his game after finally earning a starting job last season.

The ex-Gator said he knew he belonged in Tempe after he took his visit.

“I was looking for out of the portal was a team that needed a quarterback,” Jones said.

“A community that was really supportive, that’s what I was looking for.”

Jones and Valladay don’t have much time after settling in nicely in the opener against NAU. One of their biggest tests of the year comes Saturday in Stillwater, Okla., against 11th-ranked Oklahoma State.

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ASU RB Valladay, QB Jones chose Sun Devils for community and fit