Starting spots up for grabs at ASU camp

Tyler Lockman breaks down the key position battles of Arizona State’s fall camp.

Offensive line

In the mix: Sil Ajawara, Jamil Douglas, Tyler Sulka, Vi Teofilo

Outlook: ASU finished spring practice with newcomers Teofilo as the starting right guard and Ajawara as the starting left guard, but coaches want to give Sulka the chance to win a starting job at tackle. If he does, that likely shifts Douglas from right tackle back to left guard, which would shift Ajawara into a battle with Teofilo at right guard. Douglas will start somewhere, joining center Kody Koebensky and left tackle Evan Finkenberg, but two jobs are up for grabs between three guys.

Wide receiver

In the mix: Joseph Morris, Kevin Ozier, Cameron Smith, Richard Smith, Jaelen Strong

Outlook: Perhaps the most important position battle of fall camp, the wide receivers competition features an open field. Strong, a junior college transfer, is a favorite to establish himself as one of the starters, but the depth chart is less certain after that. Morris will be limited by a foot injury early in camp but should be a key contributor. Coach Todd Graham has raved about freshman Cameron Smith’s speed, and if he shows a knowledge of the offense and good hands, he could be starting. Among the returnees, Ozier and Richard Smith have the best chance at winning jobs.

Field safety

In the mix: Marcus Ball, Ezekiel Bishop, Laiu Moeakiola, Damarious Randall

Outlook: Moeakiola impressed in limited action before getting injured last season and he enters the fall with a spot atop the depth chart at Keelan Johnson’s old spot. But he has added competition now in athletic freshman Marcus Ball, who will likely play whether or not he’s starting, and junior college transfer Damarious Randall, who could win the starting job if he gets over a groin strain that will limit him early in camp.

Field cornerback

In the mix: Lloyd Carrington, Robert Nelson, Rashad Wadood

Outlook: The battle to replace Deveron Carr began in the spring and remained too close to call when the Sun Devils broke for the summer. Nelson, a senior, has the most experience and probably the most athleticism but has been inconsistent. Wadood missed all of last season with a shoulder injury but showed promise in spring practice, even at less than 100 percent. Carrington sat out last season following his transfer from Pitt, where he played as a freshman under coach Todd Graham. This could be the tightest battle of fall camp.

Will linebacker

In the mix: Antonio Longino, Carlos Mendoza, Grandville Taylor, Chris Young

Outlook: Todd Graham has made it clear Young is the top candidate to replace Brandon Magee here. But Graham remains unsure if moving Young from Spur linebacker, where he started last season, is the best thing solution. The coaches thing Young is a good fit on the weak side, but his staying there could hinge on a strong candidate taking over at Spur. If Young moves back to Spur, Mendoza, who played two games last season before a season-ending injury, and Longino, a junior college transfer, are the top candidates for this spot.

Spur linebacker

In the mix: Anthony Jones, Carlos Mendoza, Chris Young

Outlook: Todd Graham has said Mendoza will get the first chance at taking over here with Chris Young tentatively slotted at Will linebacker. Mendoza moved to Spur late in the spring and said coaches have told him they prefer him there. Senior Anthony Jones isn’t likely to relinquish the job without a fight. If neither Jones nor Mendoza impress, Young could move back.


In the mix: Alex Garoutte, Zane Gonzalez, Jon Mora

Outlook: ASU went 15 for 23 on field goals last season, with walk-on Mora taking the job from Garroutte halfway through the year. ASU signed Zane Gonzalez in the spring, and from the way Todd Graham has spoken lately, the job appears to be his to lose. No game in 2012 hinged on a field goal attempt, but it’s hard to imagine the same happening in 2013, so ASU needs a reliable kicker.