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Pac-12 media day offers look into ASU football's future

For now, ASU will remain in the Pac-12 and face a season of change after high player overturn last year and 43 new players


The fallout from the NCAA's investigation into ASU football's alleged recruiting violations continued Wednesday with the departure of the team's defensive coordinator.

With some speculating over ASU football's place in the Pac-12 amid USC and UCLA's announcements of their intent to leave the conference, the Pac-12 media day Friday offered a look into the University's future. The main takeaway: the team is going through a season of change, but for now, those changes don't include leaving the Pac-12. 

At the media day, which took place in Los Angeles, ASU football head coach Herm Edwards addressed the team's future both for this season and in the years to come.

The conference has gone through change before and can survive change again, he said, but there is now a "new model" in how teams will operate thanks to name, image, and likeness deals for student-athletes and the driving force of revenue for teams.

For now, the University will remain in the Pac-12, with no statement from ASU about leaving the conference at the media day.

Second-year Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff also commented on USC and UCLA setting their intentions to leave for the Big Ten conference starting in 2024.

“They are still Pac-12 teams for the next two years,” Kliavkoff said. “We still care about them and are rooting for their student-athletes.” 

However, when Kliavkoff was asked about the Big 12 and its endeavors to poach as many as six schools from the fellow Power Five conferences, he didn’t pull any punches.

Kliavkoff noted that the Big 12 was trying to “destabilize” the league and he “understands why they’re doing it.”

"I've been spending weeks trying to defend against grenades that have been lobbed from every corner of the Big 12,” Kliavkoff said. “I get why they’re scared.”

The Sun Devils have had a plethora of their own problems to deal with going into this season with possible recruiting violations at the center of an ongoing NCAA investigation and high turnover over the past eight months with multiple players going to the NFL and 17 players entering the transfer portal.

For this upcoming season, the whole ASU football regime has changed as well. The Sun Devils are bringing in 43 new players as well as a new offensive and defensive coordinator.

Some of the former players were big cogs in the wheel for the Sun Devils with former star quarterback Jayden Daniels and No.1 receiving option Ricky Pearsall taking their talents to the SEC.

“Your roster will change, I’m accustomed to that," Edwards said. “I don’t worry about guys leaving. I worry about who are we getting, and a lot of talented players have signed on.”

One of the players Edwards mentioned was graduate student running back Xazavian Valladay, who transferred from the University of Wyoming this winter.

Redshirt fifth-year linebacker Kyle Soelle, who spoke at the media day, praised his new teammate. “He’s gonna open some eyes," Soelle said. "He can play in this Power Five conference, and he’s one to watch.”

Soelle also spoke about the team’s experience with all the changes in the locker room over the past six months. “We really just saw an opportunity, with all this adversity, to come together as a team,” Soelle said. “We grew a chip on our shoulders, and we want to prove people wrong.”

Proving people wrong will be a big element for ASU this year with the most recent preseason media poll placing the team at No. 10 of the 12 teams in the conference.

Edward expressed that the team “is closer than I’ve ever seen” and that “the more weeks we go into the season, the more we will see how these guys play."

Senior offensive lineman LaDarius Henderson saw the media’s prediction as even more motivation for the team as he takes on a leadership role this fall.

“According to the poll yesterday, I feel y’all don’t know that much about the team,” Henderson said. “When the media doesn’t have many great things to say about you, that can make us bond as a team even closer.”

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