Video by Justin Janssen | Sports Reporter
Redshirt junior linebacker Antonio Longino didn’t start his career with ASU, but he’s found a niche at Devilbacker.
“Antonio Longino’s found a home there at Devil,” Graham said at his morning session. “We’ve gone from not having any Devils to having quite a few that I feel good about.”
In the past, he has tried other positions in the linebacker group unit, most recently Will. His current role specializes in rushing from the edge.
Longino said he feels “comfortable” in the new role and needs to work on his technique to fully adjust positions.
Longino played in a reserve role last season for ASU, making six tackles, including a sack. With nine defensive starters departing the team from last season, there is playing time to be had.
He said his grades were an issue out of high school, so he had to start from junior college.
Longino ended up redshirting his first season at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas and played another, leaving him with three seasons of eligibility with the Sun Devils.
Redshirt seniors De’Marieya Nelson and Marcus Washington are likely going to play on both sides of the ball in the fall. Graham said following the night session that combined they are going to have roughly 20-25 plays on offense, with most of them coming from Nelson.
Graham said he wasn’t going to redshirt as many players as previous seasons because he wants them contributing on special teams.
“You have to be able to use your best guys,” he said. “The problem is when you’re playing as many snaps in this conference as you’re going to play, you got to have second-team guys, second-level guys (on special teams) that can step up.”
Graham addressed the status of junior defensive lineman Jaxon Hood and redshirt freshman safety Marcus Ball in the morning session.
On Hood: “We should get him back the first part of next week and he (is) definitely going to be a factor in the inside.”
On Ball: “I wouldn’t see him practicing until we go out to Camp Tontozona at the earliest.” Camp runs Aug. 12-16.
Graham said at the morning session he wanted to get junior running back D.J. Foster 20 to 30 touches per game, which would be at minimum 240 touches in the team’s 12 games. In the night session, he said durability was not a concern when giving him the ball so many times.
Reach the reporter at Justin.Janssen@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @jjanssen11