Football dedicates remainder of season to seniors

Junior safety Alden Darby returns the ball during warm-ups prior to the Sun Devils’ season opener against NAU on Aug. 30. (Photo by Kyle Newman)

Although Saturday’s football game is not the last one for the 2012 Sun Devils, it will have a sense of finality, because it is the last home game for the seniors.

While those getting ready to finish their ASU careers want to go out on top, those that will be back next season want to make sure the team’s final games — Senior Day at Sun Devil Stadium, the Territorial Cup and a potential bowl game — are memorable.

“We need to win on Saturday, get a win next week and win the bowl game,” junior safety Alden Darby said. “I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that happens.”

Coach Todd Graham vividly remembers his last game as a collegiate player and has been trying to talk to not only the seniors, but also the entire ASU team about how meaningful Saturday’s contest will be.

“Being a part of a team is about being part of something bigger than yourself,” Graham said. “There are guys that have been here five and six years that are going to be playing their last game. … I’ve got a lot of respect for (redshirt senior linebacker) Brandon Magee, (senior running back) Cameron Marshall, (redshirt senior offensive lineman) Andrew Sampson and the guys that have put so much into this program. They deserve for us to go out and win, and win in a decisive way, so we are going to bust our tail ends.”

Despite being just a freshman, defensive lineman Jaxon Hood has seen the seniors go through a lot and views them all as mentors, role models and leaders.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for these seniors,” Hood said. “They came through a big change and that’s hard. They’ve been great mentors to me and are guys I look up to.”

Hood said this year’s seniors are very business-like and believes Magee and redshirt senior cornerback Deveron Carr are two of the most mature people he has met in college.

Darby plays with Carr and redshirt senior safety Keelan Johnson in the secondary and will miss being on the field with the seniors next season.

“It’s a great senior class,” Darby said. “They are a great group of guys. They are like family. I love the guys in front of me and they are probably the best senior class I have played with.”

 

Reach the reporter at william.boor@asu.edu