ASU to be without twin brothers Keon, Kejuan Markham due to ‘personal situation’

Sep 26, 2022, 3:49 PM | Updated: 4:25 pm
Arizona State Sun Devils defensive back Kejuan Markham (12) runs back an interception during the co...
Arizona State Sun Devils defensive back Kejuan Markham (12) runs back an interception during the college football game between the Eastern Michigan Eagles and the Arizona State Sun Devils on September 17, 2022 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

TEMPE — There has been plenty of change to the Arizona State Sun Devils football team over the last week-plus.

After the mutual parting of ways between ASU and Herm Edwards on Sept. 18, new interim head coach Shaun Aguano has already put his thumbprint on the program — both on and off the field.

Some of Aguano’s changes feature anywhere from more up-tempo, higher-energy practices with a focus on attention to detail during the week, to a family dinner of 170-plus people on Sunday.

But the latest wrinkle came in Saturday’s 34-13 loss to then-No. 13 Utah (now No. 12), with the twin Markham brothers of cornerback Keon and safety Kejuan in street clothes on the sideline after being designated as game-time decisions.

“It’s a personal situation that I’m going to keep them away from the team for right now,” Aguano said on Monday. “But it’s just personal for both of them. I think it’s hard on them in regard to the coaching change. We’ve been talking, however.”

The twin brothers were both recruited out of Long Beach Poly High School in California and had played their entire college careers (2019-22) under Edwards.

Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, the injury bug has already bitten a couple of starters in the defensive backs room. Ed Woods has missed every game after playing in the season-opener against NAU while Ro Torrence has been out each of the last two contests against Eastern Michigan and Utah.

And with cornerback Keon Markham now added to the unavailable defensive backs list, redshirt freshman CB Isaiah Johnson got an opportunity to start opposite of No. 1 corner Timarcus Davis against the Utes — and he didn’t disappoint.

“How I look at it, everybody says the next man up and from a preparation standpoint, anybody that is in that second or third spot needs to prepare like they’re starters because they’re only one play away from being that guy,” Aguano said. “I thought Isaiah Johnson did a great job. He had his moments where there were mistakes, young mistakes, he had dirty eyes on a couple of plays.

“But overall, he gave me everything he got. He made some great plays on some pass breakups and a tackle on fourth down. So I’m happy with that knowing that guys who are in the second and third and fourth string are preparing like they’re starters and that gives me a lot of satisfaction.”

But defensive back isn’t the only position Arizona State has injury concerns with, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive tackle Omarr Norman-Lott and wide receiver Zeke Freeman both missed the Utah game after playing against Eastern Michigan a week prior.

However, Norman-Lott’s lower-body injury sustained in the first quarter against EMU proved to be a bigger loss, as the redshirt sophomore is a starter and defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson last week attributed some of the struggles in the Week 3 loss to losing the DT early on in the contest.

“I think a lot of them are expected back,” Aguano said. “It’s day by day, but a lot of them are expected back. … I do think we’ll be ready with our guys back. I’m going to get a prognosis today from a medical standpoint on a Monday.”

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ASU to be without twin brothers Keon, Kejuan Markham due to ‘personal situation’