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Two players stand out during packed ASU football spring game

Trelon Smith and Malik Lawal impressed on Friday night


Then-freshman linebacker Malik Lawal readjusts his helmet during the last day of Camp Tontozona on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015 in Payson, Arizona.

It took all but one pass play for Sun Devil fans at the spring game to see both the hope and uncertainty the future holds for ASU football. 

Desperate to avoid the pass rush, redshirt senior quarterback Manny Wilkins threw an ill-advised interception to redshirt junior linebacker Malik Lawal.

“We (were) talking about it before practice,” Lawal said. “I’m supposed to have four so far this spring, and I’ve missed every opportunity. So, I was like ‘Bro, this is my last chance to get one at least,’ so when Manny (Wilkins) threw me that ball, I was like ‘There is no way.'” 

Lawal, who is currently starting at outside linebacker, looked the part in Friday’s spring game. The defense as a whole did an average job at preventing chunk plays, something that has plagued the Sun Devils in years past. 

If spring has been any indication for what is to come, this team is different. The entirety of Friday’s spring game featured an above-average crowd and drastic transformations to last year’s event.

Last season, then-coach Todd Graham organized the roster into two groups that participated in drills for points. Once that was over, the scrimmage finally began.

Although current coach Herm Edwards placed the eleven-on-eleven session at the end of the night, the spring game mirrored the practices that have been taking place for the last month.

There was, however, at least one difference: the clear athleticism sophomore running back Trelon Smith brings to the table.  

At five-foot nine-inches and 189 pounds, Smith’s stature doesn’t scream athletic freak – it’s his speed that happens to do that.  

Throughout the night, Smith made defenders look silly in drills – specifically the “v” drill.

“Oh yeah, that’s one of my favorite drills,” Smith said. “The 'v' drill – I love that drill. Just with my talent, that’s something I love doing. I feel like it helps me better as a running back and my reaction time.”

With sophomore Eno Benjamin, the projected starting running back, not participating in spring game due to an injury, Smith got the bulk of the first-team tailback duties.

As Benjamin recovers and the incoming freshmen running backs wait to get their chance in the maroon and gold, Smith keeps his thought process the same. 

“I just take advantage of every moment I’m given,” Smith said. “I felt like this was a good one for me, and I learned a lot this (spring).”

Reach the reporter at or follow @Anthony_Totri on Twitter.   

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