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ASU Sun Devils Delivered a Glimpse Into Their 2024 Season

Updated: May 6

Sparky the Sun Devil
© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Amidst a whirlwind of sporting events sweeping through Phoenix, from a crucial playoff clash featuring the Phoenix Suns to the spirited matchups of Sun Devil athletics, an impressive crowd converged upon Arizona State University’s spring football game, underscoring the enduring allure of gridiron action.

Marking the culmination of an offseason marked by resilience and transition, the ASU spring football game unfolded under the Friday night lights in Tempe, offering spectators a glimpse into the team’s evolution. Despite resembling more of a formal practice session, the scrimmage pulsated with intensity as Team Gold, spearheaded by anticipated starting quarterback Sam Leavitt, seized the spotlight with a commanding performance over Team Maroon. As the ASU Sun Devils gear up for their inaugural season in the Big 12 conference, standout displays from both offensive and defensive units hint at an exciting journey ahead, leaving fans eagerly anticipating the gridiron battles to come.

Quarterback Showdown: Leavitt’s Emergence and Bruzon’s Rise

Redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Leavitt made a resounding debut, demonstrating his prowess to fans for the first time since his transfer from Michigan State. Leavitt’s consistent accuracy and adeptness at both passing and running underscored his potential as a formidable alternative to redshirt senior Trenton Bourguet, the sole returning quarterback on the roster. Building on his experience as a true freshman, where he showcased a commendable completion rate, Leavitt continued his impressive streak throughout the spring ball.

Adding depth to the quarterback rotation, freshman walk-on Navi Bruzon made a memorable entrance onto the field, delivering a touchdown pass and showcasing his mobility, reminiscent of his championship-winning performance with Liberty High School. The competition for the backup quarterback position promises to be a compelling storyline as fall camp approaches, with Bourguet’s seasoned stability juxtaposed against Bruzon’s dynamic playmaking ability.

ASU Spring Game
© Sam Ballesteros/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Sophomore running back Kyson Brown commanded attention with his consistent receptions and steadfast presence on the field. With promising statistics from his previous season, Brown’s poised performance hinted at a potential surge in offensive production, particularly in rushing yards, as he continues to assert his presence on the field.

Graduate wide receiver Melquan Stovall emerged as a key offensive asset, leveraging his rapport with Bourguet to deliver impactful plays throughout the scrimmage. Stovall’s chemistry with Bourguet was palpable, underscoring his potential to contribute significantly to the team’s offensive firepower in the upcoming season.

ASU Offensive Linemen Schureman (77) and Scott (76) in blocking drill
© Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

However, concerns linger over the offensive line’s performance, as evidenced by multiple penalties and a need for improvement in pass protection. Addressing these issues will be paramount as the Sun Devils gear up for the challenges of the upcoming season, aiming to bolster their offensive capabilities and fortify their defensive stronghold.

Defensive Standouts Showcase Potential

As the ASU spring football game unfolded, several defensive players seized the spotlight, reaffirming the promise they've demonstrated throughout spring practices. Notable among them were sophomore defensive lineman C.J. Fite, redshirt freshman defensive back Montana Warren, and redshirt senior linebacker Caleb McCullough, each leaving an indelible mark on the scrimmage.

Fite's disruptive presence in the run game was evident, particularly in his adeptness at disrupting lateral zone-schemed runs, creating opportunities for linebackers to capitalize. His impressive performance comes as no surprise, given his previous accolades, including a notable ranking among true freshman interior linemen and Pac-12 honorable mention for Freshman Defensive Player of the Year.

Sun Devils’ CB Ed Woods
© Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Warren showcased his trademark aggression, consistently anticipating receiver patterns and demonstrating a knack for jumping routes. Despite narrowly missing a potential pick-six, Warren's assertive playstyle bodes well for his future impact, with Coach Dillingham highlighting his upward trajectory as a 2023 signee.

McCullough's standout interception, baiting quarterback Sam Leavitt into an ill-advised throw and subsequently forcing a turnover, epitomized the defensive unit's prowess. Transitioning from a primarily special teams role last season, McCullough's emergence signals a potential uptick in defensive responsibilities for the California native come 2024.

Sun Devils’ CB Adama Fall
© Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

In addition to Fite, Warren, and McCullough, redshirt junior Krew Jackson and junior Jacob Rich Kongaika also impressed, showcasing disruptive pass-rushing abilities that underscored the team's defensive depth.

Coach Dillingham's emphasis on team cohesion, reflected in increased team meetings this spring, has cultivated a sense of camaraderie among players, setting the stage for a unified and determined effort as the Sun Devils gear up for the challenges of the fall season.

ASU Sun Devils Set to Kick Off Big 12 Era

The Arizona State Sun Devils are gearing up for an exciting transition as they prepare to embark on their inaugural Big 12 football schedule in 2024. The conference's release of the 2024 football schedule unveiled a lineup brimming with anticipation and intrigue for Sun Devil fans.

With the conference expanding to 16 teams, including the addition of the Arizona schools alongside Colorado and Utah, ASU faces a slate of formidable opponents. Highlighting their home matchups are clashes against BYU, Utah, Kansas, and UCF, promising electrifying showdowns at Sun Devil Stadium. On the road, Arizona State will venture to face off against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and Cincinnati, ready to test their mettle against diverse competition.

As the Sun Devils embark on their Big 12 journey, they'll enjoy two byes strategically positioned within the conference schedule, offering valuable respite after the Big 12 opener on Sept. 29 and midway through the season on the weekend of Oct. 26.

Amidst the exhilarating matchups, one tradition remains steadfast—the annual rivalry showdown between the Sun Devils and the Wildcats. In 2024, this storied rivalry will unfold in Tucson on Saturday, Nov. 30, promising another chapter of intense gridiron action and regional pride.

Stay tuned for further details as game times for the full schedule will be announced at a later date, adding to the anticipation surrounding Arizona State's historic foray into the Big 12 conference.


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