Newcomers Chase Lucas and Joey Bryant are ready to prove themselves in ASU secondary

In light of offseason personnel shuffling, expect Chase Lucas and Joey Bryant to have big roles in ASU defensive backfield

In 2016 the Arizona State football team allowed the most passing yards per game. This was before the offseason and the departure of defensive backs Armand Perry and Kareem Orr from the program. 

On paper, that doesn't bode well for the Sun Devils' defense backfield heading into the 2017 campaign, but that's not the way current players see it.

"I honestly think that the team has become better, it forced guys to step up and to fill in that spot and to perform better," redshirt sophomore wide receiver John Humphrey said.

Humphrey may not be a defensive back, but he gets a firsthand look at them when he goes up against them at practice.  One of the defenders he's noticed is redshirt freshman Chase Lucas.

"He's been remarkable," Humphrey said. "He's been really good, I love going up against him just to sharpen him up, stuff like that."

Lucas, a former four-star recruit from nearby Chandler High School, has been one of the most discussed names of fall camp so far. 

However as a redshirt, Lucas did not even see the field last season, something that hadn't happened in his successful football career.

"It's a humbling experience, it really is a humbling experience," Lucas said. "The first couple games I was sitting back, (thinking) 'Man I know I can help this team, I know I can help this team.'"

"Coming up, being a four-star athlete, it's a great experience, but there's no more humbling experience than being redshirted," he said.

And while no athlete wants to sit on the sideline, the year off likely helped Lucas, since he mentioned that he worked on his body to become a better player. Lucas weighed 156 pounds as a true freshman, but now he checks in at 178 pounds.

It appears the wait was the right move for Lucas, as he's already gotten first-team reps at fall camp.

Another newcomer to the defensive secondary is redshirt junior Joey Bryant.

Simply put, Bryant took the long way to end up playing for ASU. After playing high school ball in Honolulu, Bryant went to Mt. San Antonio junior college in Southern California.

There, he played on the football team and was involved with track and field. While he said had football offers from schools like Idaho, New Mexico State and even Hawaii, he decided to transfer to ASU on a track scholarship.

He then competed in the high jump, long jump and triple jump for the Sun Devils, and once he was settled at ASU he showed defensive coordinator Phil Bennett some of his tape. Bennett let him on the team.

But for now, Bryant is still learning how to play cornerback, as he was a safety in the past.

"Playing safety, it's just different footwork," Bryant said. "Coach Bennett and coach Graham want us to do a near foot shimmy, it's just different footwork that I'm getting down."

Bryant noted that the coaches show tape from NFL cornerbacks to help the defensive backs with their footwork.

"Coach Graham really likes the Seahawks, they play really smart...," Bryant said.

In learning a new position, Bryant still has to learn more of the technique and said he sometimes has trouble covering some routes, but his athletic abilities are a step above most on the team.

"Joey is real good, he's a raw athlete, he's very athletic. Especially at corner he has all the tools," senior cornerback Maurice Chandler said.

If Bryant can pair his athleticism with newfound knowledge of the game, expect him to see plenty of time in the defensive backfield during the season.

"Once he really gets his coaching down, gets his technique down, he'll be one hell of a player," Humphrey said.


Reach the reporter at mpharri7@asu.edu or follow @Harris_Mark7 on Twitter.

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