Eleven Sun Devils Earn Preseason All-Conference Recognition as Pac-12 Media Day Commences
LOS ANGELES -- Pac-12 Media Day is underway in Hollywood with Sun Devil Football players Jayden Daniels and Chase Lucas in attendance alongside head coach Herm Edwards. As part of the kickoff event for the 2021 season, the league released its preseason All-Conference teams today - as selected by Pac-12 media members - with Arizona State leading the way in first and second team selections with ten.
Pac-12 Networks is providing exclusive coverage of all 12 teams, featuring interviews and analysis beginning at 8 a.m. PT / 9 a.m. MT on Pac-12 Network and the Pac-12 Now app.
Pac-12 Networks' Ashley Adamson, Nigel Burton and Yogi Roth are live from Hollywood, Calif., to bring fans the latest insight, breakdowns and a look at players to watch this upcoming season, all day long.
The Sun Devils will take center stage between 1-2 p.m. AZT with the interviews being carried live through the Pac-12 Network and its additional apps and services.
ASU had four players earn first team preseason all-conference nods, as released by the league office this morning, with OL Dohnovan West, DL Jermayne Lole, CB Chase Lucas and P Michael Turk leading the charge. QB Jayden Daniels, RB Rachaad White, OL Kellen Diesch, DL Tyler Johnson, DB Evan Fields and RS/AP D.J. Taylor earning second-team accolades. Taylor was selected as both a returning specialist and all-purpose player. Additionally, DeaMonte Trayanum earned an honorable mention recognition.
ASU's ten first and second team selections led the conference. Information on all of the selections, as well as other notables on the Sun Devil Football program, can be found below.
Sun Devil Football Preseason Notables
- Jayden Daniels has thrown for 877 passing yards in the fourth quarter of games in his career, 14th among Power Five quarterbacks since 2019.
- His nine fourth quarter passing touchdowns are 11th among Power Five QBs since 2019. His fourth quarter NFL passer rating is 111.4 in the fourth quarter, ninth among Power Five QBs since 2019.
- He leads the nation since 2019 in yards per pass competition with 11+ yards to go at 18.9 ypc (680 yards on 36 completions). His passer rating with over 11+ yards to go since 2019 is 188.2, second in the nation behind Texas Tech's Tyler Shough (195.4).
- When rushing on third down in his career, Daniels has a first down or touchdown percentage of 54.0 percent, good for sixth among FBS quarterbacks since 2019. Additionally, Daniels has 103 rushing yards on 10 carries on third and 11+, sixth most among FBS quarterbacks. His seven rushing touchdowns overall are 19th among P5 QBs since 2019, as are his 782 rushing yards (sacks excluded).
- Daniels has committed just five turnovers on 618 plays in his career, the fewest among FBS quarterbacks since 2019 (0.8 percent of plays). Daniels is one of just five FBS quarterbacks since 2019 to not throw an interception on third down.
- Since 2019, Daniels is second among FBS quarterbacks in yards per completion on third down at 16.3 (964 yards on 59 competitions), trailing only Louisville's Malik Cunningham (17.2).
- Among Power Five quarterbacks with at least 100 third-down attempts since 2019, Daniels is 10th with an NFL quarterback rating of 101.0.
IN A RUSH
- ASU led the Pac-12 and was seventh nationally in averaging 264.2 rushing yards per game last season. It was the highest single-season tally at ASU since the 1981 team posted 266.6 yards per game on the ground.
- Arizona State running backs averaged 7.2 yards from scrimmage per touch (505 yards / 70 touches) on first down last season.
- Rachaad White had just three yards for loss on the season and DeaMontre Trayanum had just four as PFF credited the duo with a 0.0 percent stuff rate, marking them the only running backs in the Pac-12 with such a claim and two of just five running backs nationally to do so.
- A credit to his smooth cuts and the big men in front of him, 58.0 percent of White's rushing yards came before contact. He averaged 5.8 yards per rush without being touched on the year - tops in the nation and 3.0 more yards than any other player in the league
- Trayanum averaged a first down or touchdown on 36.7 percent of his carries, tops in the league just ahead of White (35.7).
- White led the nation in averaging 10.0 yards per rush (420 yards on 42 attempts) while he was 14th nationally in all-purpose yards per game (151.0). He was second among Pac-12 running backs with 151 receiving yards and caught all eight of his targets.
- Trayanum was the highest-graded running back in the Pac-12 last season by PFF with a score of 87.6 - 4.4 points higher than any other back in the league. White was fourth in the Pac-12 with a score of 82.5.
- Against UCLA, Chip Trayanum became the first true freshman to rush for 100 yards in a game since Demario Richard in 2014 (14 for 116 vs. Utah - the 8th game of the year). In doing so in just his second game as a Sun Devil, he became the fastest freshman to have a 100-yard game since Keegan Herring rushed for 134 yards on 12 carries in his debut in the season opener for ASU vs. Tempe in 2005.
- Jayden Daniels' 111 rushing yards against USC last year were the fourth-most by a quarterback in Sun Devil history.
HOLD ON TO YOUR SEATS
- Arizona State has played in 11 total games decided by four points or less in the Herm Edwards era, which is tied for third in the FBS in that time behind Kansas State and North Carolina (13).
- ASU has seven wins in games decided by four points or less (7-4 record), tied for second behind Nevada (8) for the most wins by four points or fewer since 2018.
- The Sun Devils have now played in 19 games decided by a touchdown or less in the last two-plus years, going 9-10 in that time. The 19 games are second behind Texas (21) for the most in the country in that span. The 9 wins in such game are tied for 5th in the FBS in that time.
HOLD ON TO THAT BALL, ALSO
- ASU turned the ball over five times last year, seventh nationally.The Devils turned the ball over just 14 times in 2019 - the 20th-lowest total in the FBS.
- ASU is one of just five non-triple option offenses to rank in the Top-25 in fewest interceptions in each of the last three seasons.
- The Devils were tops in the country in turnover margin last season at 2.00. ASU was 6th nationally in turnover margin in 2019 (1.08).
- ASU (11th in 2018) is one of just two teams nationally to rank in the Top-25 in turnover margin in each of the last three seasons (Georgia Southern) and only ASU was in the top-15 in each of those seasons
- Arizona State has forced 25 fumbles on 627 carries (25.1 Carries Per Fumble) since the 2019 season -- best in FBS. ASU forced 7 fumbles on 164 carries (23.4 Carries Per Fumble) last season -- 3rd-best in FBS.
- ASU has forced 27 turnovers in its last 10 games dating back to 2019, good for the most in the nation. It has multiple takeaways in eight of those (3+ in four of them).
- ASU has 40 takeaways overall since 2019, 11th among all Power Five teams despite playing significantly less games than the majority of the teams ahead of it due to COVID-19 restrictions. ASU's 59 takeaways since 2018 are 13th among Power Five teams.
- ASU has forced 19 takeaways in the fourth quarter of games since 2018 - 10 among the Power Five.
- ASU forced an opponent turnover on 25.0 percent of drives last season, tops in the country. Arizona State ASU forced a turnover on 17.5 percent of opponent possessions in 2019, good for 4th nationally.
- ASU has outscored opponents 779-386 in points off takeaways since 2012.
- Since 2012, ASU has scored 64.9 percent of the time following an opponent turnover (131 of 202) while finding the end zone 96 times in that span (47.5 percent).
- Conversely, opponents have scored just 48.1 percent of the time following an ASU turnover since 2012 (65 of 135) with 50 touchdowns (37.0 percent).
LOCKING IT DOWN
- Arizona State allowed a pass of 40+ yards on just 1 of 158 attempts (0.6%) last season -- 4th-best among Power 5 Teams. ASU allowed just one play over 50 yards on the season (rush) - tied for third-lowest in the country.
- ASU has allowed just seven plays over 50 yards to opponents since the 2018 season over 30 games. The .23 50+ yard plays per game allowed are second-fewest in the FBS in that time behind only Washington (.09 percent on 3 plaus over 31 games). ASU ranked in the bottom 10 nationally in 50+ yards played allowed each year from 2014-17.
- ASU is one of just seven teams in the country to rank in the Top-35 in fewest plays over 30 yards allowed in EACH of the last three seasons (Cal, Washington, Utah, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern). ASU has allowed just 43 in that time (1.4 per game/30 games)). For perspective, from 2014-17, ASU gave up 38, 44, 40, 40 such plays, respectively ranked 116th, 124th, 117th and 119th.
- In the last three seasons combined, the Sun Devil secondary has allowed just 16 total passing plays over 40 yards. For perspective, it had 12 alone in 2017, 22 in 2016 and 24 in 2015 – the latter two ranked second to last and last, respectively, in the nation.
KEEP 'EM OFF THE BOARD
- ASU has held opponents to less than 30 points in 20 of 30 games under Herm Edwards, notable as it DID allow 30+ in 32 of 43 previous games dating back in a span from 2013-17.
- Last season, ASU was first in the Pac-12 in allowing just 23.2 points per game (32nd nationally).. In 2019, ASU was 35th in the country, allowing 22.4 points per game. The Sun Devils allowed just 25.5 points per game in 2018, good for 53rd nationally. These totals are notable as ASU was 103rd nationally at 32.8 points per game allowed in 2017 and had finished 99th or worse in three consecutive seasons prior to the marked improvement the past three seasons.
- Since 2019, ASU has allowed a fourth quarter touchdown drive just 19.4 percent of the time (12-of-62), good for 13th among all Power Five schools.
THRILL OF THE CHASE
- Chase Lucas was the highest graded corner in the Pac-12 in coverage last season with a grade of 84.7 and the 16th-highest graded corner in the nation.
- He allowed just 109 yards in coverage, seventh fewest in the Pac-12 while his 7.8 yards allowed per catch were third in the league and only allowed five first downs, fourth fewest in the league and forced five incompletions - good for third in the league.
- Lucas allowed a first down or touchdown just 31.8 percent of the time, seventh-lowest in the Pac-12, and allowed just one player over 15 yards, second-lowest in the league.
- Among players with at least 250 defensive snaps, Lucas was the fifth-highest graded defensive player in the Pac-12, regardless of position, with a score of 81.4 from Pro Football Focus. He was the highest-rated cornerback in the league.
- Lucas recorded a score of 84.8 in pass coverage for the season, the highest for a cornerback in the league and the second-highest of any defensive player.
- He was the sixth-highest graded cornerback in the nation in pass coverage and the 12th-highest graded cornerback in the country overall.
- Lucas forced an incompletion on 27.3 percent of the passes thrown his way, the ninth-best tally among corners nationally.
- He was targeted just 22 times on the season despite playing over 90 percent of the team's defensive snaps, allowing just 14 catches.
IN THE TRENCHES
- ASU's offensive line has allowed just 188 combined quarterback pressures by opponents since 2019 - the seventh-fewest among Power Five programs.
- Dohnovan West has been named a 2021 PFF Preseason All-America pick by Pro Football Focus, a 2021 Athlon Sports Preseason All-Pac-12 First Team Selection and is ranked as the 2021 No. 5 Lindy's Preseason Center.
- West was the 7th-highest graded guard in the Power Five last season, according to PFF (76.7) and tops among Pac-12 guards
- He was credited with just two QB pressures allowed, tied for third among P5 guards nationally and did not allow a sack on the season.
- Kellen Diesch was the 18th highest-graded tackle in among Power Five schools last year, according to PFF and second in the Pac-12 with a score of 81.3 (just behind the 14th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, Alijah Vera-Tucker of USC (81.8). He is the highest graded returning tackle in the league.
- Diesch had the 22nd-best pass blocking grade in the Power Five (78.9), second in the league behind Vera-Tucker.
- He was credited with just four QB pressures allowed on the year, fourth-lowest in the P5. Paved the way for a rushing offense that was seventh nationally in 264.2 yards per game - 30 more than any other team in the Pac-12.
HOLD THE LINE
- Despite playing the fewest games in the league, ASU's defensive line last season recorded 23 tackles for loss or tackles for no gain - third in the Pac-12.
- The group tallied 70 total quarterback pressures, sixth in the league but a 17.5 pressure per game average along the line that was easily tops in the league.
- Jermayne Lole is a Pro Football Focus Preseason All American (First Team Defensive Line), Athlon Sports Preseason All-Pac-12 pick and was named to PFF' College 50 entering 2021 as the No. 24 player in the nation.
- Lole was the highest graded defensive interior player in the Pac-12 last season with a score of 85.9 - 3.3 points more than any other conference player and good for 13th among all FBS interior linemen. He was the third-highest graded defensive lineman when playing three-technique on the year.
- Lole was second in the league with 18 defensive "stops" despite playing only four games/
- He had the highest run defense score in the league at 82.1 and only scored a negative grade on 9.2 percent of his run defense snaps, the second-lowest in the league and among the top-30 lowest in all of the FBS. Lole led league interior linemen in tackles for loss or rushes for no gain on run plays with seven.
- He was just as disruptive in the pash rush as he was third among defensive interior players in the Pac-12 with 18 quarterback pressures. He "won" his matchup in pass rushing 14.2 percent of the time, fourth in the league.
- Tyler Johnson is ASU's active leader in tackles for loss (21) and sacks (11.5). Last year, he led the team with 5.0 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss, good for fourth in the Pac-12, respectively
- He was the ninth-highest graded edge defender in the Pac-12 last season as a pass rusher (70.3).
- His 19 quarterback hurries were fourth in the league among edge defenders. He generated pressure on 21.3 percent of his pass snaps, second most in the league and sixth-most nationally.
- Evan Fields Was the fifth-highest graded safety in coverage in the Pac-12 last season (73.4). He was also the fifth-highest graded safety in the Pac-12 in run defense (73.1).
- He was targeted just 4.2 percent of the time, second-lowest among league safeties and 15th among FBS safeties.
- He allowed just 51 yards in coverage, third-lowest in the league while his two first downs allowed were tied with teammate Deandre Pierce for first in the Pac-12.
- Fields Led the Sun Devils with 28 tackles - eight more than any other player and his 9.5 tackles per game were sixth in the Pac-12.
- Deandre Pierce held opponents to a 64.0 NFL QBR when targeting him last year.
- Pierce was fourth in the league in allowing a first down or touchdown just 28.6 percent of the time in primary coverage and was not credited with a touchdown allowed on the year.
- He dad a negative grade in run defense just 3.3 percent of the time on the season.
GO DJ, THAT'S MY DJ
- D.J. Taylor was the highest-graded kick returner in the Pac-12 with a grade of 81.1 from Pro Football Focus – good for 12th nationally. Despite his knack for success on returns, he was actually the fourth-highest graded player on kickoff coverage in the Pac-12 as well – with a score of 77.7..
- Taylor averaged 36.9 total yards per kick return attempt (including yardage on kicks taken out of the end zone), which was seven yards per return more than any other player in the Pac-12 and fourth among any player in the FBS with at least five kickoff returns.
- His 107 total yards on his touchdown against Arizona was the longest of any player in the FBS last season, according to PFF. Taylor took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown in the Territorial Cup, the first Sun Devil to accomplish the feat against Arizona.
- The Brandon, Florida native nearly had another kickoff return for a touchdown against UCLA, but was tripped on a 42-yard return and earned a 15-yard penalty to set the Sun Devil offense up with prime field position
- He was credited with at least one tackle in three of the four games last season on the return coverage unit.
NOBODY'S BUSINESS BUT THE TURKS
- Michael Turk is a 2021 Athlon Sports Preseason All-Pac-12 First Team selection.
- He is the seventh-highest graded punter since 2019 in the Power Five (83.8).
- His 46.2 yards per punting attempt since 2019 is eighth in the Power Five as are his 45 punts downed inside the 20..
- His average hangtime since 2019 is 4.29 second, second among Power Five players..
- Turk was one of only three players in the conference to be named to the First Team for the second consecutive season last year. He led the conference in every major statistical punting category, including allowing only 28 total yards on punt returns last season.
- The Dallas native boomed five punts over 50 yards and a long of 58 yards. He was sixth in the country in yards per punt attempt last year at 47.2. His average hangtime of 4.00 was third in the Pac-12. He kicked 11 of his 14 punts inside the 20-yard line.
- A semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award in 2019, Michael Turk's 46.0 yards per punt average on 59 punts were 11th in the FBS and led the Pac-12.
- He pinned 32 of those 59 punts inside the opponent 20-yard line (54.2 percent), a total that was second in the nation. Turk had 21 punts out of 59 (35.6 percent) punts over 50 yards last season, six more than any other player in the Pac-12.
- The 63.0 yards per punt mark by Turk on Aug. 29 vs. Kent State broke an NCAA record. The previous record for highest average yards per punt in a game with minimum five attempts was Braden Mann of Texas A&M on Sept. 22, 2018, as he had a 60.8 yards per punt average vs. Alabama. Turk punted five times for 315 yards with boots of 64, 62, 65, 49 and 75 in his Sun Devil debut.