The depth chart of the Arizona State Sun Devils just got a little less crowded yet again. Senior linebacker Brandon Magee rupture his Achilles tendon recently in a practice session and is out for the season. He plans to use a redshirt this season as he recovers from his upcoming surgery.
This injury is yet another blow in a lengthy list of lost starters this season, and the team has yet to play a game. To date, 5 potential starters have gone down for an extended amount of time. These injuries have come at crucial positions on both offense and defense. If ASU is to experience the break out season which is expected of them, their resilience will be a key factor. Below is a breakdown of each injury and how the team expects to overcome it.
Last year’s starter Steven Threet announced that he would retire from football due to lasting symptoms from a concussion suffered against UCLA. That left the door wide open for junior Brock Osweiler, who played well in two games last year, to take full control of the starting job. He demonstrates above average leadership skills, good arm strength, and surprising mobility for a guy his size (at 6’8, he will be the tallest starting QB in the nation). This injury doesn’t hurt too much, as Osweiler may have won the job in a QB competition as he nearly did last year. The team is confident that Brock can be a quality starter and lead the team well this year.
Concern Level (Scale of 1 to 10): 3
Explosive running back Deantre Lewis has yet to practice this year as he recovers from a random off season shooting in which a bullet hit him in his buttocks. The extent of the injury isn’t fully known, as the speedy sophomore is not expected to report to school until the day before classes begin, so the position is in a flux. In the worse case scenario, Lewis would sit out a year and use his redshirt. Starter Cameron Marshall is a big power runner with solid speed but is not the home run threat that Lewis is. Marshall is also currently out for a limited time with This is a big loss for an offense which could use a few more playmakers. This storyline will be very important as the season rolls along.
Concern Level: 5
When T.J. Simpson went down in the spring with an ACL tear, the Sun Devils lost a big time playmaker. In a group of experienced but underachieving wide outs, Simpson was expected to be a solid contributor. His loss is a big one in the pass heavy offense the Devils plan to run this year. Hopefully, the other seniors such as Mike Willie will step up and fill in the gap, but the group hasn’t shown to be very promising in recent years. Simpson is in rehab and in the best case scenario may be able to return before the end of the season, although this is unlikely. ASU can use all the help they can get at the position, so Simpson’s loss hurts quite a bit. Also, Gerell Robinson tweaked his MCL recently and it is not known for how long he will be out.
Concern Level: 6
Brandon Magee, as mentioned above, has recently joined the list of injured starters on the roster. He has been a good linebacker and was expected to be a leader this year. However, the loss may not be as devastating as it would seem because of the depth of ASU’s linebacking corps. With Burfict anchoring the middle, and Shelly Lyons owning the other outside spot, Magee’s spot will be filled in either by Oliver Aaron (who is currently out with a concussion) or Colin Parker. The unit should be able to overcome the loss, although they would be far better off with a healthy Magee.
Concern Level: 6
The loss of senior leader Omar Bolden hurts the most out of any other player listed here. ASU does not have solid proven back ups at this position and his torn ACL turns a major strength into a likely weakness. The overall lack of talent in the secondary could be the downfall of an otherwise impressive defense. Sophomores Osahon Irabor and Alden Darby are currently slated to start in his absence. Deveron Carr is currently out for a while. Bolden is rehabbing and has stated his intent to return to the team as soon as possible, although as with WR Simpson, a quick recovery would be a surprise.
Concern Level: 9
These injuries might take this team from a PAC-12 title contender to a bottom dweller with a mediocre record. Here’s hoping otherwise.