Redshirt junior defensive tackle Will Sutton is off to a fast start this season, as he was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the week — days before his 21st birthday — for his performance against Cal.
Sutton has 34 tackles, 10 of them for a loss, and is second in the conference with six and a half sacks this season.
While Sutton has been impressive this season and has started to garner more and more national attention, redshirt senior linebacker Brandon Magee — who played football and baseball with Sutton at Centennial High School in California — believes the best is yet to come.
“He can be outstanding,” Magee said. “If I was an offensive lineman and I watched the film, I’d be like, ‘Dang, I have to go up against that?’ The offense is already mentally beat before the hit the field.”
Sutton’s talent has always been apparent, but Magee said Sutton’s practice habits and maturity are the biggest aspects of Sutton’s life that have improved. Sutton missed the 2010 season because he was academically ineligible, but Magee believes his teammate learned his lesson.
Sun Devils benefiting from bye week
When ASU takes the field against Colorado on Oct. 11, it will have been 12 days since its last game action. Some may try to say the Sun Devils will not come out as crisp as they have the past couple weeks because bye weeks occasionally alter momentum.
Magee, who missed all of last season because of a torn Achilles, admitted his Achilles was sore, but the bye week came at a time that will greatly benefit the team.
“I actually think we are going to gain momentum,” Magee said. “Getting this week off is big for me and players that are nicked up. I think we are going to come out fresh and ready to go. We’re hungry.”
Junior tight end Chris Coyle agrees and acknowledges the coaches would not let the players ease up if they tried.
“They do a really good job of making sure we don’t let down at all,” Coyle said. “I’m pretty sure we will be able to pick it up right where we left off.”
Kelly emerging as reliable punter
There is no doubt senior Josh Hubner is ASU’s primary punter, but redshirt sophomore quarterback Taylor Kelly has shown he is capable of answering the call as well.
When the Sun Devils are around their opponents’ 40-yard line, the ASU offense sometimes stays on the field during fourth down with the option to either go for it or pooch punt the football.
Kelly has punted three times this season, and all three of them have pinned the opponent inside its 20-yard line.
“I think it’s a weapon for us,” coach Todd Graham said. “Field position is important and (punting) is something (Kelly) does really, really well.”
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