ASU football's Gump Hayes adjusts to new role

The Sun Devil athlete is back on the defensive side of the ball

A rash of early-season injuries have plagued the ASU football team thus far and in order to inject some life into its hurting roster, the coaching staff made the decision Tuesday to move one of the team's most dynamic playmakers from offense to defense.

Redshirt junior Gump Hayes can add defensive back to his laundry list of positions he's played for the Sun Devils this season, as the speedster got reps at cornerback for the first time this season.

The move comes in light of two prominent injuries in the secondary. Sophomore safety Armand Perry is still working his way back from a sprained ankle and redshirt senior cornerback Lloyd Carrington sat out Tuesday with an undisclosed injury.

For the most part, Hayes has been ineffective on offense in the early stages of the season, averaging just under three yards per offensive touch, which possibly prompted the change of position. 

His role in the offense was even more limited against USC Saturday with the return of sophomore running back Kalen Ballage from mononucleosis that kept him out the first three weeks.

It isn't Hayes' first time playing in the defensive backfield. He was recruited by both Clemson and Marshall to play there and got some work at the position at Lackawanna College.

Hayes said the coaching staff approached him Sunday night about the switch, saying they want him to play about 18 plays on offense and contribute on defense, specifically in nickel, as Graham said Tuesday.

"If they need me to play offense and defense, that's what I'm going to do to help the team," Hayes said.

While Graham anticipates Carrington to be back in the lineup in short order, he said he believes Hayes can be an asset at defensive back and could help the Sun Devils moving forward.

"Sometimes when you have necessity, you find something that might work out really helping you," Graham said. "I think that he can really cover."

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