ASU football early-enrollees acclimating themselves in first spring

Freshmen are getting an early start on the 2015 season

Each year during spring practice, the ASU football team welcomes early-enrollees who choose to graduate high school or leave junior college a semester early to enroll at ASU. 

They do so for many reasons, including getting a head start on learning a new system and getting acclimated.

Of the 23 new scholarship players on ASU’s roster for the 2015-16 season, four true freshman enrolled for the second semester — quarterback Brady White, running back Nick Ralston, defensive lineman George Lea and offensive lineman Steven Miller.

Most of the way through spring practice, the early-enrollees are taking a large role.

White said enrolling early and taking part in practice has already been rewarding and will help more as he advances his career as a Sun Devil.

“It’s going to be a huge help for me going forward,” White said. “I get a whole semester and spring to really get used to school and get used to the college life, as well as, obviously, the playbook and getting experience on the field with the guys around me and going through film with (deputy head coach Mike) Norvell. It’s a huge benefit. I’m very glad that I did it and I’m looking forward to the future and finishing out this spring.”

Ralston said learning the offense has taken some time and being on campus for an extra semester and for extra workouts will help him get in the backfield rotation earlier and will help him set himself apart from other players.

“It helps you bond with the team and learn the offense,” Ralston said. “The offense is really complex. Every day everybody is getting better and everybody is pushing everybody, so it’s just a really good team effort.”

Ralston was a workhorse running back at Argyle High School in Texas, but was recruited to play linebacker at ASU. Early on in spring practices, however, coach Todd Graham said that Ralston would work in the backfield. Ralston said he put trust in the coaching staff and believes everything will turn out well for him.

“I just knew the coaches would put me in a position to maximize my potential and I think they did that,” Ralston said.

Ralston said he is enjoying the adjustment, but there are some things that prove more difficult.

“I definitely like college a lot more than high school,” Ralston said. “But I’m in Barrett (Honors College), so that’s pretty difficult.”

Ralston and White are roommates and Ralston said they have become very close over the course of the semester. Both players emphasized the “Sun Devil Brotherhood” concept Graham and his staff preaches to current and prospective players.

“I think everyone gels really well on this team,” White said. “We say Sun Devil Brotherhood and it really is. We all have each others' backs. We’re competing on the field, but we’re all looking out for each other’s best interests. All of it is going to come together once the season comes around, but it’s been really good to get to know a lot of the guys on the team and get close to some guys and build those relationships that are going to last a lifetime."

Reach the reporter at mtonis@asu.edu or follow @Tonis_The_Tiger on Twitter.

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