Expect wide receiver Jalen Harvey to be a "focal point" for ASU Football

Wide receiver Jalen Harvey could be a breakout player for the Sun Devils this season

If you’re an Arizona State Football fan, you’re probably aware of the starting quarterback battle and the talented skill position players like sophomore wide receiver N’Keal Harry, and the senior running back duo of Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard.

But there’s another offensive player who’s in line to be a key contributor for the Sun Devils: redshirt junior wide receiver Jalen Harvey.

Harvey got his first real dose of playing time last season, recording 330 yards on 21 receptions. His first career reception was a 41-yard touchdown against Arizona in 2015, which is not a bad way to make yourself known.

In 2017, expect Harvey (who now wears number 89) to be a larger part of the offense, as he's been taking first team reps, mostly at slot receiver, for all of fall camp. 

"You can take outside receivers away in the game plan, but when you do that it opens other things up," ASU wide receivers coach Rob Likens said. "But he's in a good position, he's always going to be a focal point."

With the gifted N'Keal Harry lined up on the perimeter, there will likely be games where defenses will need to double team him to limit his production. 

That leaves one less defender for the other offensive players, therefore allowing Harvey more space to operate in the middle of the field. Likens also mentioned that Harvey has improved his releases off second-level defenders when running routes.

Until game time, however, Harvey can only focus on practice where he has no interest in missing a rep.

"I feel like you've got to have that mindset of, 'No one is going to go out there and take your spot,'" Harvey said. "I'm just anxious to get back out there because you never know what could happen."

Harvey's desire to be on the field not only helps him, but also adds a tougher atmosphere to the team.

"His toughness is something that is greatly needed and appreciated on our football team, because that guy, unless his leg is falling off that guy is going to practice everyday." said Likens.

His toughness translates to how he plays, as he's one of the best run-blocking wide receivers for the Sun Devils.

"It's just having a will to put it all on the line," Harvey said. "A lot of people aren't going to do that."

"I was taught not to be selfish, so I regulate that onto the field, so I don't really have a problem going out there and blocking for one of my teammates."

And it appears Harvey's run-blocking has rubbed off on his fellow receivers.

"It's the next level, so I kind of expect those guys to do their job, and I think they do a phenomenal job with that," freshman running back Eno Benjamin said.

Practice Observations

First Team Offense

Quarterback: Manny Wilkins

Running Backs: Kalen Ballage, Demario Richard

Wide Receivers: John Humphrey, Jalen Harvey, Terrell Chatman

Tight Ends: Jay Jay Wilson, Tommy Hudson

Offensive Line: Cohl Cabral (LT), Sam Jones (LG), AJ McCollum (C), Steve Miller (RG), Quinn Bailey (RT)

First team Defense

Defensive Linemen: Tashon Smallwood, Shannon Forman (DT), JoJo Wicker

Linebackers: Koron Crump, DJ Calhoun, Christian Sam, J’Marcus Rhodes (SPUR)

Cornerbacks: Chase Lucas, Kobe Williams

Safeties: Marcus Ball, Chad Adams

***

Green non-contact jerseys: Evan Fields (CB), Demonte King (DB), Jalen Bates (DL), Brady White (QB),

Muscle Beach (Did not perform in drills. Sat out on the side.): Tyson Rising (OL) , Ryan Jenkins (WR) , Zach Robertson (OL) , Curtis Hodges (WR) , Nick Ralston (RB), Jordan Hoyt (DL), Langston Frederick (DB), #91, Corey Stephens (OL) and N’Keal Harry (WR) who participated in drills.

***

Other notes:

Christian Sam and Demario Richard were a matchup to watch in the Oklahoma drill.

In another bout, Sam took down Richard, stood over him and started talking trash. The two got in each other’s faces afterwards.

Freshman running back Eno Benjamin displayed great field vision in an inside run in 11-on-11 practice.

In a two point drill, Wilkins overthrew Humphrey who was running across the back of the end zone. The ball hit the bottom of the crossbar. 


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

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