ASU football midseason position evaluations: Special teamers
With the bye week giving the Arizona State Sun Devils two weeks off before their next game at the Stanford Cardinal on Oct. 22, let’s evaluate each position group through six games.
Next up on our ASU midseason position evaluations is special teams.
Coming into the season, it was a kicking battle between true freshman Carter Brown and redshirt freshman Jace Feely, who is the son of former Arizona Cardinals K Jay Feely.
After coming out of Texas as one of the best high school kickers in the country, Brown won the competition in fall camp and has never looked back.
The true freshman is 9-for-10 on field goal attempts this season. His lone miss came from 48 yards out into the wind on a wet and rainy night at Oklahoma State that missed wide left, but certainly had the leg.
He is also 18 of 18 on extra points on the year, making him the team’s highest scorer with 45 points.
Brown’s most impressive kick in his young college career came in Arizona State’s 45-38 upset win over then-No. 21 Washington.
The kicker got the Sun Devils on the board in the first quarter with a 53-yard field goal — the longest in school history from a true freshman. He was also a perfect 6-for-6 on extra points on the day.
— Carter Brown (@CarterABrown) October 12, 2022
Brown was named the Pac-12’s Week 6 Special Teams Player of the Week for the aforementioned performance against Washington.
It marks the second time he’s received the honor this season after being named the conference’s special teamer of the week after his 16-point performance in Week 1’s 40-3 win over NAU. He went 4-for-4 from 27, 36 and twice from 44 yards out in addition to making all four extra points.
Another bright spot for ASU’s special teams unit this season has been sophomore Eddie Czaplicki, who serves as the team’s punter, holder and kickoff kicker.
Czaplicki has been fairly reliable on both his punts and kickoffs, with only a few mistakes to speak of.
Of his 30 kickoff attempts, 17 have gone for touchbacks while two have gone out of bounds, resulting in the opposing team starting on its own 35 yard line.
The two penalties came against Oklahoma State and on the opening kickoff against Eastern Michigan. Both teams scored on their ensuing drives en route to wins over the Sun Devils. Czaplicki also had a shanked punt that only traveled 19 yards against OSU, which the Cowboys turned into three points.
But outside of those blunders, Czaplicki is averaging 45 yards on his punts and has pinned opponents inside their own 20 yard line five times. He’s also hit punts over 50 yards seven times, with his two longest being 75 and 72 yards against Oklahoma State and EMU, respectively.
They may not be the most glamourous positions on the football field, but Arizona State can’t take for granted what they have in Brown and Czaplicki.
Interim head coach Shaun Aguano knows that once the offense crosses the opposing 35 yard line, he practically has three points in his pocket. That should give both Aguano and offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas confidence when it comes to playcalling in plus territory.
And while Brown hasn’t been tested in clutch time yet, that will be the next step in his growth as one of the best kickers in the country.
Football is a game of field position, and with Czaplicki proving he has the leg to switch the field, ASU is in good hands (or feet) with its punter.